Federer is driving force for tennis in terms of revenue, attention: Djokovic

first_imgWorld number one Novak Djokovic defended his great rival Roger Federer after Frenchman Julien Benneteau caused a stir by claiming that the 20-time Grand Slam champion enjoys a preferential treatment on the tour.Benneteau said that tournament referees were often nicer to Federer when it came to the schedule of his matches in an interview with French radio station RMC Sport. He particularly targetted the Australian Open where Federer has played “12 or 13″ out of his 14 matches in Melbourne for the past two years at night, avoiding the often scorching temperatures.He also picked up the topic of conflict of interest was suggesting that Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is also involved in Federer’s Laver Cup project.Djokovic, while speaking after his round-robin victory over USA’s John Isner at the ATP Finals on Sunday, said Federer has earned all the priviledges through his exceptional tennis over the years.”In the end of the day, in a way he deserves the special treatment because he’s six-time champion of Australian Open and arguably the best player ever,” Djokovic told reporters.”If he doesn’t have it, who is going to have it? 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.”I understand Julien’s point because sometimes it does seem that maybe certain players get more favoured year after year in certain tournaments. On the other side, you have to understand that Federer is a driving force of tennis in terms of revenue, in terms of attention.advertisementSee Photos: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic take London Underground ride ahead of ATP Finals”Julien and guys like him are also benefiting from tennis, because of Roger, because of what he has done for the sport.”Isner went even further, saying the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal should get even more privileges.”If anything, maybe they should get more special treatment because those guys, the top players, have made other players below them a lot of money,” the American said after his 6-4, 6-3 defeat.”It is like the Tiger Woods effect in golf. So that is how you can look at a guy like Roger. He is men’s tennis in my opinion. He deserves everything and more that he’s ever had.”Six-time champion Federer is back in action, in the night session, at the ATP Finals on Tuesday when he takes on Dominic Thiem, aiming to hit back after losing to Kei Nishikori in his opening group match on Sunday.FEDERER SKIPS PRACTICE AHEAD OF CRUCIAL THIEM CLASH Six-times champion Roger Federer cancelled his practice session at the ATP Finals on Monday, the day after losing his opening round-robin match to Kei Nishikori at the O2 Arena.Federer, making his 16th appearance at the ATP’s showpiece finale, had not lost any of his previous 45 round-robin matches in straight sets before his 7-6(4), 6-3 loss to the Japanese player.It means the 37-year-old faces an uphill battle to reach the semi-finals for the 15th time and another straight sets defeat by Austria’s Dominic Thiem on Tuesday could prove terminal.After his defeat on Sunday, Federer spoke of the difficulty he has had trying to find a practice court that matches the speed of the fast indoor showcourt at the O2 Arena.”It’s just that practice has been a bit all over the place,” he told reporters. “Practised in Queen’s (Club), practised on the outside courts here, then centre as well.”So it’s not always exactly the same conditions.”Last month, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer revealed that he has been struggling with a hand injury since this year’s grasscourt season.”I hurt my hand training at the start of the grass season,” Federer said at Basel tournament which he won.”It’s had more consequences than I thought. I dragged this pain for about three months.”(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more