Roger Federer Responds to Benneteau Remarks

Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic in this year’s Australian Open final

"And he played 12 or 13 of them in the night session", Benneteau told France's RMC Sport.

"On the same day Federer played Jan-Lennard Struff, Novak Djokovic played Gael Monfils".

Federer sealed his 20th major title after beating Marin Cilic - but only after the roof of Rod Laver Arena was shut before play commenced, despite the temperature being below the 40-degree mark needed to trigger its closure based on the tournament's heat rule.

While it wasn't vintage Federer, he was doing enough to take advantage of Thiem's sloppy display as the French Open finalist double-faulted to gift a break in the opening game of the second set.

The Serbian, now the world number one, believes the Swiss tennis legend has earned his right to get special treatment because of the success he has had in Australia over the years and he is the "greatest" to have ever played the game.

Now they face each other again in their final group match at the Nitto ATP Finals in the same city but a different tournament, on a different surface and in a very different set of circumstances. "He has no idea what that's like".

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley also released a statement saying the scheduling of Federer's matches for the evening was a response to fan demand to watch a "once-in-a-generation athlete", rather than any desire to cater to the game's biggest attraction.

"When he (Federer) promotes the Laver Cup, there are a number of conflicts of interest that have become disturbing", Benneteau said.

Asked about the controversy, former world number one Federer said that while he does speak to tournament chiefs about scheduling, he doesn't believe he gets special favours.

Pushed further, Federer went to bat for himself and others: "I get asked, 'Would you like to play Monday or Tuesday?' sometimes".

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Asked for his thoughts after his round-robin victory over American John Isner at the ATP Finals yesterday, Djokovic said Federer had earned the right for special treatment.

In a dramatic first set there was still time for Federer to nearly let Anderson back in, falling to 0-40 at 5-4, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion showed his mettle to save all three break points and close out the set, confirming his place in the semifinals.

"Sometimes we have our say", he said. Sometimes that's going to make you feel, I don't know.

"It's all good, you know". My body is feeling good and I have some energy left in the tank, and excited to play in the semis.

"I never got going". I think there you have it.

"I just felt I returned really well, made him hit a lot of shots off his serve".

Federer walked out into a jam-packed O2 Arena knowing any repeat of his insipid performance against Nishikori could result in an ignominious early exit.

Federer is still in contention with a chance of avoiding that ignominious fate thanks to his comfortable 66-minute dismissal of Austrian world No 8 Thiem. But I think I saw it too negative. It was disappointing but it happens. "I was not happy at the end of the tournament in Australia because they changed the rules".

Kei was playing horribly as well for the first eight games like I was. This is what I hope to do.

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