Roger Federer is receiving preferential treatment without even trying, prompting an upset rival to complain about tennis’ disturbing “disaster”.
Roger Federer is receiving preferential treatment without even trying, prompting an upset rival to complain about tennis’ disturbing “disaster”.

Federer favouritism exposes ‘absurd’ tennis mess

Alexander Zverev has hit out at the system used to determine tennis' world rankings, questioning how Roger Federer can possibly sit higher than him on the list.

Zverev is ranked seventh while Federer is ranked sixth, despite sitting out for more than a year.

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The Swiss maestro returned to action last week at a tournament in Doha - his first outing since the 2020 Australian Open, after which he underwent two rounds of knee surgery.

Zverev, meanwhile, has strung together consistent performances since tennis resumed after the coronavirus break. He made the final of the US Open, won ATP 250 events in Germany and also qualified for the final of a Masters 1000 tournament in Paris.

This year he made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic - and is understandably frustrated about why he is still ranked below Federer.

"The ranking doesn't really matter to me and with the system we have now, I should be top four, top five in the world in the normal system, but the system we have now is a bit absurd," Zverev said.

"I am the biggest Roger Federer fan but he has not played for a year and he is higher ranked than me. I played a grand slam final, a Masters 1000 final. The system is just a disaster."

The rankings system was frozen because of last year's COVID-19 hiatus, now taking into account players' best results over a 24-month period rather than the standard 52-week rolling window.

It's the same anomaly as in the WTA, which has allowed Aussie Ash Barty to retain her No. 1 ranking despite also sitting out all of 2020.

 

Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev moved into second place in the rankings, overtaking Rafael Nadal.

The 25-year-old Russian, who was beaten by world No. 1 Djokovic in the final at Melbourne Park this year, was elevated to second thanks to his win in the final of the Marseille tournament on Sunday.

His 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 victory against Pierre-Hugues Herbert made him just the fifth player to occupy the No. 2 spot in the 16 years since July 2005.

Apart from Djokovic and Nadal, only Federer and Andy Murray have held the position in that time.

Djokovic last week broke Federer's record for the number of weeks spent in the top spot.

Federer lost in the second round in Doha and announced afterwards he was withdrawing from a tournament in Dubai, saying "it's best to go back to training" as his comeback from 13 months on the sidelines.

The 39-year-old was knocked out of the Doha event by world number 42 Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia, squandering a match point in the deciding set.

"It's been great to be back on the @atptour, loved every minute playing in Doha once again," tweeted the 20-time grand slam title winner.

"A big thank you to the best and loyal team that helped me get here. I've decided it's best to go back to training and as a result, I've decided to withdraw from Dubai next week."

Federer has already said he will skip the opening Masters event of the season in Miami later this month. That would likely mean the Swiss veteran will play again on the European clay court swing which begins in April.

 

With AFP

 

 

 

Originally published as Federer favouritism exposes 'absurd' tennis mess



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