Roger Federer denies mind games in towel controversy during win against Djokovic
Swiss great Roger Federer denied playing any sort of ‘mind games’ in his 7-5 6-2 victory over world number 1 Novak Djokovic on Tuesday, in the round-robin match at the ATP World Tour finals being played in London.
Federer comprehensively beat Djokovic in straight sets, to reach the semi-finals of the ongoing ATP World Tour finals, and in the process ended the world number one’s 39-match winning streak indoors. The Swiss legend, with this win also narrowly leads the head-to-head tally against Djokovic, 22-21.
Prior to the start of the match, the Serb was left to sit on the chair which had Federer’s blue towel on the armrest, and he seemed surprised. He quickly covered the blue towel with a white one, raised his eyebrows and went on to play the match.
According to NDTV Sports, Federer denied placing the towel there on purpose and stated that a simple towel did not mean anything to him. "A towel doesn't mean much to me. I'm not going to be pushed by a towel. I sat on that chair when I walked out against Tomas (Berdych). I said, 'I'd like to sit here again'.”
"I walked out first. Usually the guy who walks out first decides which side he wants to sit on. That's the rules to me, not a towel, to be quite honest. Maybe to you a towel matters more. To me a towel is to take a shower with,” he went on to say.
The Serbian ace talked about the incident and just like Federer, he too rubbished reports of any tactics or mind games and stated that Federer couldn’t have thought of any tactics. "I saw that. But I think you're not advised as a player when you come onto the court which bench you should take. It's completely your choice. I don't think that was his tactical approach, mess around before we even hit the first ball. I don't think that was on his mind,” he remarked.
Federer next takes on Japan’s Kei Nishikori, who beat Tomas Berdych yesterday in a three-setter, while Djokovic will play Berdych in his next match.