Roger Federer has been forced into defending himself after Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas hit out at the tennis champ.
Tsitsipas was playing doubles in the Miami Open after he was defeated by Canadian teen Denis Shapovalov.
The 20-year-old has had a bit of a history with Federer in recent time, bursting onto the scene on the back of his shock win over Federer in the Australian Open and losing in the Dubai Open, where the Swiss maestro hit his 100th career title.
Tsitsipas and Dutch doubles player Wesley Koolhof played doubles legends Bob and Mike Bryan in the Miami Open final.
The Bryan brothers won their sixth title at the event and 39th Masters 1000 titles with a 7-5 7-6 win.
But during the game, the Greek youngster fumed after a chair umpire overruled a serve that was originally called in.
However he only appeared to speak up after the Bryan brothers protested.
Tsitsipas and Koolhof then challenged the overrule, with Hawkeye showing the ball was well in after all.
A fired up Tsitsipas then erupted at umpire Gianluca Moscarella.
“Why are you giving them so many privileges?” he said.
Moscarella responded: “It’s not a privilege, they have the right to do it, it’s all I can do.”
Tsitsipas then hit back: “The feeling that I have is that you’re giving them privilege like you do with Roger and everybody else.”
That was the end of the exchange on the court but the discussion has continued afterwards with Federer saying he was surprised by the comments.
Federer, speaking after landing the 101st title of his career at the Miami Open with a straight sets triumph over defending champion John Isner, strongly disagreed.
“It’s a tough one but what I do feel sometimes is that on the outside courts, more than just preferential treatment to the top guys, they are tougher on the rules,” Federer told AFP.
“You do something — bang, warning. It’s like there is no messing about.
“But with the umpires with the top guys on the main courts, I think the umpires know the top guys, they know their problems, they know how they behave and how they will react, so they know what acting stupid or silly means and what normal is.
“So because we know each other very well, I think it’s easier for an umpire to handle a top player who they know over an up-and-coming guy like Tsitsipas or a young guy and that sometimes gets lost in translation and maybe bad mistakes can happen.
“But I don’t see preferential treatment, there shouldn’t be. If I get warnings — I got one recently — it’s normal. So they should just, based on what happens, take those decisions and I really feel the umpires do that.
“I am sorry that Stefanos feels that way.”
Asked on social media later, Tsitsipas clarified his comments, doubling down on his comments.
One player Tsitsipas would have no problem taking a shot at is Aussie Nick Kyrgios.
In the Acapulco tournament Kyrgios won, his heated clash with Rafael Nadal saw the Aussie question the privileges of tennis’ Big Three.
Kyrgios pointed out that Nadal had consistently been able to get away with slowing him down on serve as he also swatted away Nadal’s criticism that he did not “respect” himself, his opponent or the sport.
“He doesn’t know the journey I’ve been through, he doesn’t know anything about me so I’m not going to listen at all,” Kyrgios said.
“It’s the way I play, it’s the way he plays. He’s very slow between points. There’s a rule in the books that says you have to play at the speed of the server, Rafa has the speed every time.
“I’m not going to comment on his game, he has his game, I have my game.”
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In the next tournament at Indian Wells, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Kyrgios and then Novak Djokovic.
Krygios was frustrated about the favourable coverage players like Djokovic enjoyed after his loss.
— with AFP