Federer heads to next challenge after blasting round-robin debacle
By Bill Scott Mar 4, 2007, 19:00 GMT
Geneva - Roger Federer and beleaguered ATP boss Etienne De Villiers are sure to exchange a few quiet words in the coming weeks after the round-robin rollback at the Las Vegas event left the sanctioning body to clean up a public relations disaster.
Number 1 Federer, who travels later this week to defend his title at the Indian Wells Masters in California, will arrive in the desert with a fourth trophy in five years from Dubai after winning that event again at the weekend over Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
With the ATP now in damage control after wrongly naming James Blake to a quarter-final place after a mis-interpretation of complex rules governing an experiment in round-robin play, the entire concept now looks set to die a death.
De Villiers, a former Disney executive, has been taking heat for his telephone decision to allow Blake to pass group play, which was later shown to be against ATP rules.
A day later, Blake was out and Russian Evgeny Korolev was reinstated to the position in the final eight, he later lost his match.
Federer, a 25-year-old staunch traditionalist, tried not to say 'I told you so' when asked about the last Vegas breakdown.
And the polite Swiss who knows no current rivals on the court, quietly predicted the end of the format experiment gone wild.
'I've always said you have to keep tennis the way it is and not try to change and mix it up and try too many things at the same time,' said the ten-time grand Slam winner.
'And now he's (De Villiers) burned his hand on this that's for sure.'
Federer said that the feels the ill-starred round-robin idea is now almost dead and buried.
'I doubt that it is going to happen next year. It's going to be interesting to see the reaction now.
'I think it's a very bad situation that happened, so we'll see what happens.'
Federer said from the start that he would not play in any round-robin event - save the year-end Masters Cup in Shanghai which features only eight men in a controllable and logical format.
The group match trial has been limited to smaller events, and could easily be buried when the ATP board meet in Miami in late March.
'Everyone knows that I was against it in the first place,' said Federer. 'It's very disappointing that things like this have to happen before you realize that actually this system was not going to work.'
Should he repeat as tropyholder at Indian Wells, which begins at the weekend. Federer would equal the all-time record of 46 straight victories set by Argentine Guillermo Vilas in 1977.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur