‘Federer changed ranking system to protect himself’

Tennis coach Dirk Hordoff believes Roger Federer changed ranking system to protect himself from a drop in the charts

Roger Federer's muscles deteriorated considerably after the two knee surgeries

Veteran tennis coach Dirk Hordoff launched an attack on Roger Federer for manipulating the ATP ranking system to his advantage.

The 39-year-old Swiss played only one tournament in 2020 – the Australian Open, in which he reached the semi-finals – but still finished the year ranked No 5 in the world.

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Even before the Coronavirus outbreak forced tennis into a six-month shutdown, Federer had taken a break from the tour to undergo knee surgery.

Owing to the pandemic, the ATP froze rankings from 16 March, just days after the Tour was suspended, until 24 August.

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The men’s governing body had announced in August that, ‘the Rankings were adjusted in early summer from the traditional 12-month ranking to a Best of 22-month ranking with the goal of preserving the principles of merit, fairness and mobility despite the disruption caused by the virus.’

In October, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, ATP announced that it would move to a Best of 24-month ranking, extending the current ranking approach through and including the week of 1 March 2021.

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“Roger Federer changed the ranking method to protect himself,” Hordoff, who coached players like Janko Tipsarevic and Rainer Schuettler, said on a podcast.

“It is irresponsible and quite simply incorrect. In my opinion, he takes advantage of his position on the Players’ Council. It has to be said that without the ranking change, Roger Federer would not be in the top 50.”

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Federer rejoined the ATP Player Council in August after Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil quit to form their breakaway player body called the Professional Tennis Players’ Association.

“That the Masters, which is the 19th tournament of the year anyway, will stay there for two years? That’s perverse,” added Hordoff.

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Federer had announced an early end to his season as he is recuperating from two knee surgeries. He is expected to make a comeback at the 2021 Australian Open.