Federer beats Thiem at Tour Finals, rejects claims of preferential treatment

CNN  — 

It was already there.

“Sometimes I get help, sometimes I don’t,” the 20-time grand slam champion told reporters.

The Swiss needed to defeat Thiem to ensure he would not be knocked out in the group stage at the year-end championships for only the second time in 16 trips, and came through 6-2 6-3 against the error strewn Austrian at the O2 Arena in London.

Federer was then asked about the stinging comments made by recently retired Julien Benneteau, one of his junior rivals.

The Frenchman claimed earlier this month on radio station Radio Monte Carlo that Federer benefited from playing most of his matches at night at the Australian Open for the last two years – bypassing the oppressive afternoon heat that can strike the January tournament. He won the title in both seasons.

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Benneteau noted Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley’s involvement in the Laver Cup, a September exhibition event launched by, among others, Tennis Australia and Federer’s management agency Team8. He also said he heard that Federer’s agent Tony Godsick told US Open officials he didn’t want his charge to be scheduled on the new Louis Armstrong stadium during this year’s tournament.

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Not in the mood

“I don’t really feel the mood during a World Tour Finals to discuss that topic, to be honest,” Federer said when the subject was raised in his press conference. “In all fairness, I hope you understand why, because this is a bit of a celebration for tennis. For me it’s the year-end finale. I love playing here.

“The radio interview that happened over a week ago that surfaces now in French, Julien, who is a nice guy, I know him since the junior times, I think all of this has been totally taken out of context.”