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18 Jan, 2019 12:06

'It's just what we do': Federer plays down Konta's criticism of late matches at Australian Open

'It's just what we do': Federer plays down Konta's criticism of late matches at Australian Open

Roger Federer has stood up to criticism of the Australian Open's organizers after Johanna Konta called the late finishes to each day's play "dangerous."

Konta lost to Garbine Muguruza in a match that finished at 3:12am after the match before went to all five sets. And the British player criticized the tournament for asking players to compete at such anti-social hours. 

"I don't agree with athletes having to physically exert themselves in the wee hours of the morning," said Konta, whose match started at 12:30am.

"I don't think it is healthy - in fact it is quite dangerous. However, Garbine and I were both in the same position and, with the circumstances, we really put on a great match and it's just a shame more people couldn't enjoy it."


The number of matches going the distance has forced Australian Open's organizers to extend the day to keep the tournament on schedule.

And while Konta has been a vocal opponent of those late matches this week, the organizers were backed by six-time Australian Open champion Federer, who said that playing late into the night was a regular part of life in Grand Slam tournaments.

"It's just what we do," said the Swiss star when asked about late-starting matches.

"I think as tennis players you have to be flexible, especially in the head. We don't know if we play at 11:00pm or 1:00am or super late.

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"It's not like a team sport where you know the kickoff time is at a certain time. We are used to playing three times in the juniors in a day. This is part of ourlife and we actually like it like this. There is no solution, I think.


"I think for the people in the stadium, there was a few, you know, they were happy. People on the TV, they were still happy that tennis was going on."

While admitting the situation was far from ideal for players, Federer said he couldn't see a viable alternative to simply playing late.

"I don't know what other choices you have. You could move them on an outside court, but then the atmosphere might be quite sad, you know, if you put them on the outside court.

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"So I think it is what it is, and they also played a long match. You just deal with it. You move on. You know that's not going to happen again. They're going to try to help you out with scheduling the next time that you play maybe later in the evening again, so you stay somewhat in that rhythm."

Federer will face Greek prospect Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last 16 of the tournament on Sunday after securing his 100th Australian Open match against American Taylor Fritz.