Currently competing in the season-ending ATP Tour Finals, Roger Federer has denied accusations from Julien Benneteau that he receives special treatment at the Australian Open because of his reputation within the sport.
Having succumbed to a shocking straight-sets defeat to Japanese star Kei Nishikori in the Finals opener, Federer responded in similar fashion against Dominic Thiem, beating the Austrian 6-2 and 6-3 on Wednesday.
Federer now needs to find his best form when he takes on Kevin Anderson, who has beaten both the aforementioned stars in their group.
Currently the world number three, the Swiss ace has claimed more Major titles than any other male in the history of the sport and 36-year-old Frenchman Benneteau believes that Federer has played up to his reputation.
The former French Open doubles champion says that Federer's experience and stature allow the 20-time Grand Slam champion to easier scheduling benefits at the Aussie Open.
Benneteau reiterated Federer's last two tournaments Down Under, in which he played 12/13 of his 14 matches at night when the temperature is significantly cooler.
"It's normal that he gets preferential treatment, with everything he's done. But, in some tournaments, there are big differences in the conditions. He has no idea what that's like," Benneteau told RMC Sport.
Federer wasn't the only man to oppose these comments, however, with current world number one Novak Djokovic stating he deserves said 'special treatment' for all he has done for the sport.
Craig Tiley, the tournament's director, says that Federer's frequent night sessions are to appease fans, who wish to witness one of tennis' all-time greats at peak hours for the sport.
Following his win over Thiem at the Tour Finals, the current Australian Open champion was honest about his matches are scheduled at the tournament.
He told Sky Sports: "I get asked 'would you like to play Monday or Tuesday' sometimes. Sometimes I get asked, 'Do you want to play day or night?'
"Sometimes they go ask my agent, Sometimes they ask me, you know, Asia wants you to play at night. Yes, sometimes we have our say. But I asked to play Monday at the US Open and I played Tuesday night."
Federer then proceeded to show his class when he backed Benneteau, calling him a nice guy whose comments were taken out of context.News Now - Sport News