Roger Federer gives his response as he exits the ATP finals amid a storm of controversy
Roger Federer leapt to the defence of his opponent Alexander Zverev after controversy erupted at the end of their compelling ATP finals clash at the 02 Arena in London.
Zverev piled the pressure on himself with his bold move to halt a point mid-way through the second set tie-break of a gripping semi-final, as he asked for a point to be replayed after a ball kid dropped a ball at the back of the court.
The umpire made the right call to replay the point as Zverev closed in on victory that was sealed moments later as he wrapped up a 7-5 7-6 win, yet the jeers and boos from the crowd during the tie-break and as Sky Sports presenter Annabel Croft tried to interview the victor on court clearly upset Zverev, as he tried to take the sting out of the incident with these comments.
“I apologised to Roger at the net already, he said it is OK and it is in the rules,” the world number five said. “I’m sorry this happened. I didn’t mean to upset anybody.”
Federer had no qualms about the controversy, as he insisted Zverev was within his rights to halt the game.
“I just asked the umpire what had happened and when I was told the ball kid dropped a ball, then fine we replay the point,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion. “It’s just unfortunate circumstances. These things happen.
“Booing, I never like it. We see it in other sports all the time, but in tennis it’s rare. So when it happens, it gets very personal and we take it very direct.
“I think it’s unfortunate that this happened. Sascha doesn’t deserve it. He apologised to me at the net. I was like, Buddy, shut up. You don’t need to apologise to me here. Congratulations on a great match and a great tournament so far. All the best for the finals. And you move on.
“He shouldn’t be apologising. He didn’t do anything about it. He just called it how it was. He felt it affected play. There is a rule that if something like this happens, obviously you replay points.
“Should the umpire have explained his case more in that very moment? I mean, rules are rules. Replay the point. Everybody deal with it. You know, I did. We move on, but, yeah, you don’t like to see it. But, look, it happens.
“I’m sure he won’t be booed coming out for the finals, or at least I hope so. It’s not his mistake. I think people will be happy to see a good finals tomorrow.”
More from Tennis365:
Johanna Konta makes progress while Dan Evans fails as grass court season gathers pace
Johanna Konta is safely through to…
‘A night you will remember forever’ – Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal react to their French Open epic
Nadal went into the contest having won 105 of his previous 107 matches on the Parisian clay, but he was beaten by his great rival.
French Open day 13: A four-hour and 11-minute Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal epic, HawkEye debate rages on
The story of the 13th day of action at Roland Garros.
Novak Djokovic dethrones Rafael Nadal to reach French Open final
Nadal suffered just his third loss at the French Open, with Djokovic setting up a final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Phenomenal Novak Djokovic pulls off sensational win to end Rafael Nadal’s French Open reign
Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s reign as champion.
‘It was nerve-racking, it was so intense’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas after battling past Alexander Zverev
Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed in five sets against Alexander Zverev.
‘I’m just going to have fun,’ says Barbora Krejcikova as she looks to win a French Open double
Krejcikova will feature in singles and doubles finals.
‘There is a real buzz of anticipation,’ says Tim Henman ahead of Wimbledon return
The 2020 Championships were cancelled due to Covid-19.
Johanna Konta edges closer to ending her title drought after reaching Viking Open semi-finals
Johanna Konta eyes first WTA Tour title since 2017.
Roger Federer ‘pretty positive about his chances’ as he looks to step up a gear on grass
“I’ve only seen improvement, no setbacks,” says Roger Federer.