Roger Federer denies claims that umpires are biased towards the tennis elites

Miami Open 2019 - Day 14

Roger Federer’s 101st career title was clouded by allegations that he and other top tennis stars receive special treatment from umpires.

Speaking against the current greats of tennis was Stefanos Tsitsipas, who conclusively determined that the most experienced players on the ATP Tour, like Federer, get preferential treatment.

The controversial accusations first appeared on court in Tsitsipas’ doubles match against the world-renowned Bryan brothers, who he claims – as double tennis legends themselves - also received the same biased judgement.

In their match, Tsitsipas called out the umpire for a late challenge made by the infamous brothers and was left furious.

However, his theory didn’t stop there, but instead excelled into accusing one of the all-time greats Federer as being on the right side of this so-called unfair treatment.

On Twitter, the 20-year-old stated: “I think players that have been doing really well over the years, players that are generally much respected in the tennis world, have privileges when it comes to certain rules and umpire decisions.”

This was posted moments before Federer’s final match in the Miami Open. The Swiss star won the title comfortably in straight sets against the big-serving American John Isner.

After his win, Federer denied Tsitsipas’ claims, but admitted some officials can be more lenient or indeed harsher on specific rules - especially on outside courts.

“I don’t see preferential treatment, there shouldn’t be,” started the world number four.

Miami Open 2019 - Day 14

“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.

“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.”

Federer then claimed that it is simply a case of the more experienced umpires knowing the more experienced players and therefore knowing how to deal, interact and punish them.

He said: “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.

Miami Open 2019 - Day 14

“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.”

“I am sorry that Stefanos feels that way,” finished Federer.

This all, of course, coming from a young tennis prodigy with a bright future who idolises Federer and acknowledged that his hero has absolutely no hand in what the umpires determine.

“Roger Federer is always going to be my favourite player no matter what,” said Tsitsipas. “I don’t want to drag him into this. It’s not his fault or intention, it’s the umpires that are trying to protect them more than they are supposed to. Nothing more than that.”

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