Tennis schedule ridiculous, fumes Federer

Roger Federer complained the Olympic tennis schedule was "ridiculous" after playing six matches in just four days.

updated: August 18, 2008 16:53 IST
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Roger Federer complained the Olympic tennis schedule was "ridiculous" after playing six matches in just four days.

The top seed won his singles match against Tomas Berdych and had just one hour and 40 minutes to recover before returning for the doubles. "I find it a little bit ridiculous that we're playing maybe 11 matches in seven days, to be honest," Federer said.

"You know, I know it rained the first day. But quite honestly, I don't understand why we don't play such a big tournament over 10 days maybe.

"That's the only regret I have at the moment because I think this is asking just a little bit too much and too much trouble." The event is Grand Slam-size but played in almost half the time, eight days rather than a fortnight and most of the first day was lost to rain.

Rafael Nadal started playing at 10:30 am on Monday and didn't finish until late that evening. The same day, Sam Querrey played Igor Andreev and then stayed on court to face him in the doubles.

Federer complained the format was "very hard" on the players, most of whom will compete in the US Open which starts a week on Monday. "They've made it very hard on us players and I wish there were extra days for us to play," Federer said. "But that's the way it is right now."

The Swiss has played two previous Olympics, finishing fourth in 2000 and losing in round two four years ago.

"I know the difficulty of trying to win a medal here," he said. "It's a difficult forum, winning six matches in seven days plus five doubles matches if you want to win gold there as well."

The Olympics is known to throw up surprises with Marc Rosset winning in 1992 and Nicolas Massu taking both singles and doubles gold in Athens. Several players have also voiced concern over the added physical demands of playing in the heat and humidity of a Beijing summer.

"Except in Dubai in practice, I never have to towel off basically after every point I play," Federer said. "The racket gets wet, grip gets wet, slippery. That makes it hard, just having the proper feeling on the grip. "But just being wet all over, sweat in your eyes, makes it a bit tricky."

US number one James Blake earlier said the tournament would be a survival of the fittest. "It's going to be a grind," Blake said. "By the end of the week, whoever is left standing is going to have to be someone that's in great shape physically."