Roger Federer cancelled his practice on Monday ahead of a match he has to win on Tuesday night to get his campaign back on track at the Nitto ATP Finals, and an unhappy week so far was not made any better when he received an unusual dose of criticism from French player Julien Benneteau.
Benneteau was particularly referring to the Australian Open where he said 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer played "12 or 13" of his 14 matches at Melbourne in the past two years at night, so avoiding the often scorching temperatures.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also said the scheduling of Federer's matches for the evening was a response to fan demand to watch a "once-in-a-generation athlete", rather than any desire to cater to the sport's biggest star.
Roger Federer plays a backhand during his singles round robin match against Dominic Thiem during Day Three of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena on November 13, 2018, in London.
"I understand Julien's point because sometimes it does seem that maybe certain players get more favored year after year in certain tournaments", said Djokovic. "On the same day, Federer played Jan-Lennard Struff - I have nothing against Struff, great guy - Novak Djokovic played Gael Monfils", he said. People want to see him play on the centre court, and they want to see him play in showtime, the best hours, which is 7:30 at night in Rod Laver Arena.
But Federer was supported by world No 1 Novak Djokovic on Monday, with his rival suggesting the six-time Australian Open victor had actually earned the right to "special treatment" for all the good he has done for the sport.
"It's all good, you know". "I don't think there is a tournament director in the world who doesn't take those factors into account when setting the schedule". Yes, sometimes we have our say. "A lot of the facts are not right, just to be clear there, from what I heard".
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"I think I actually started playing better as the tournament went on".
The Austrian sixth seed broke his Japanese rival, who shocked Federer in his opening match, twice in the first set and a single break was enough for him to take the second set and seal the match.
Roger Federer insists he isn't thinking about the opportunity of winning his 100th career title after he progressed to the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in London.
"It's had more consequences than I thought".
With a 1-1 record in round-robin play, Federer will likely need to defeat Kevin Anderson on Thursday to improve his 14-1 record of reaching the semifinals at the season-ending tournament. It was disappointing but it happens. This is what I hope to do. Cilic was critical of the Australian Open's decision to close the roof before his final showdown with Federer in January. Anderson is back in London just four months after losing his first Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic, and this was the kind of dominant display that carried him to the title match at the All England Club.
"Today I was more positive and happy on the court".