Novak Djokovic has downplayed suggestions that he “feels offended” or “disrespected” after Italian Open organisers increased ticket prices for Roger Federer’s comeback match.
After a three-year hiatus, Federer announced over the weekend that he had accepted a late entry into the ATP Masters 1000 event.
He will take on Joao Sousa in the second round on Wednesday, but organisers revealed on Sunday that the prices of tickets that are still available would be increased.
“We have doubled the price of tickets for Wednesday, the day Federer will play. We want to reward fans who had bought tickets before they knew Federer would play,” they said.
When asked about the decision, Federer said: “I heard some fans clearly were not happy about it. That’s obviously disappointing to hear.”
World No 1 Djokovic as well as 17-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal will also be in action on Wednesday and the Serb was asked for his opinion about the increase.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard that information,” Djokovic said.
“I don’t think that’s because Roger hasn’t won here that it affects his value or what he brings to the world of tennis or any tournament.
“He is the biggest name of all, historically he’s won the most titles, he is a huge brand in sports worldwide, one of the biggest of all time.
“From one side, I can maybe understand. I don’t feel offended or feel it has disrespected me or Rafa or anybody else.
“The bottom line is that if it brings more tickets and more attendance to the tournament, that great for everybody, I hope it does. If not, too bad.”
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