Cape Town – After Julien Benneteau re-ignited the controversy over whether Roger Federer gets preferential treatment at big tournaments, ex-players and coaches are offering their opinions.
A storm erupted after Frenchman Benneteau was quoted as saying that it was unfair that Swiss great Federer is given the choice of playing when he wants at Grand Slams and major events, whether it be evening or day sessions, or even choosing which days of the week to play.
Benneteau pointed to the last two Australian Opens, where Federer was able to avoid the sweltering Melbourne heat by playing evening sessions, as an example of the kind of preferential treatment he receives.
But as far as Federer’s former coach Paul Annacone is concerned, there is no reason for controversy, as the 20-time Grand Slam champion isn’t the only player that gets treated in this way.
“When the issue came out I said, Yes? And so?” Annacone said on the Tennis Channel.
“This happens in every tournament. I took part in many meetings where I walked in and they said, Pete Sampras would like to play this day, Roger Federer would like to play this day, Tim Henman…
“You do it at every single tournament. And I can guarantee you, I have been there with the coaches of (Rafael) Nadal, (Novak) Djokovic. They all ask for it – they just don’t always get it.”
Former World No 1 Jim Courier is in complete agreement.
“I think Roger Federer gets an appropriate treatment for who he is in the game, what he means to the fans, what he means to the broadcasters.
“I don’t think there is any scandal or that the USTA, Tennis Australia are doing anything different than they would normally do.
“I think that’s a little bit misguided from Julien Benneteau, he did say a lot of nice things about Roger Federer in that radio interview as well.
“This is obviously the one grab, the media obviously love to go negative and make a story out of it, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it,” Courier said.