'Class act': Roger Federer's epic moment of sportsmanship at French Open

·4-min read
Roger Federer is pictured waving to fans at the French Open.
Roger Federer was praised for a classy moment of sportsmanship at the French Open. Pic: Getty

Roger Federer has been hailed for an act of class during a tense moment in his gripping second round win at the French Open.

The 20-time major champion had to overcome a rare blow-up at a chair umpire, before booking his place in the third round at Roland Garros with a 6-2 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win over Croatia's Marin Cilic.

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Federer was left fuming in the second set when he was handed a time violation for taking too long in between points.

The 39-year-old had a fiery argument with chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph and even dragged Cilic into his rant.

"Marin, am I playing too slow?" Federer asked, to which Cilic responded he was.

Despite the lengthy argument that ensued, Federer soon regained his composure and showed why he's so revered by fans all around the world.

With the match delicately poised at a set apiece and 1-1 in the third set tiebreak, Federer gifted his opponent a point with a brilliant display of honesty.

After seeing Cilic's serve incorrectly called out, Federer halted play to overrule the umpire in an act of sportsmanship hailed by viewers on social media.

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Federer was handed a time violation by umpire Emmanuel Joseph at 1-3 down in the second set for taking too long between points in order to fetch his towel.

"I don't even dare to get my towel anymore," he said to Joseph.

Federer, the oldest man in the draw at 39, continued to lose his cool and the set before recovering to defeat former world number three Cilic.

"I had very good moments, in the tie-break in particular, and I served really well to finish," said Federer after hitting 47 winners.

Federer explains misunderstanding

Playing in only his second French Open since 2015, Federer goes on to face Germany's 59th-ranked Dominik Koepfer, with a potential quarter-final showdown looming against Novak Djokovic, who won his second round clash against Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

The flashpoint with the umpire came while Federer was receiving serve, with the laws of tennis insisting the receiver play to the speed of the server.

"I just feel like it was a misunderstanding on many levels," Federer added.

Roger Federer is seen here arguing with the chair umpire.
Roger Federer was furious about receiving a time violation. Image: Eurosport/Getty

"I didn't feel like I was playing particularly slow, and with the towels, quite honestly, if I want to go to the towel, now I can't go to the towel anymore, it's okay, I get it.

"I understand playing to the server's pace, I have done it in hundreds of matches, and I always feel like I don't make my opponent wait very much, but clearly Marin wanted to go faster."

The Swiss legend is playing just his third tournament since losing in the Australian Open semi-finals to Novak Djokovic in 2020.

In between, he underwent two knee surgeries while the pandemic saw new rules introduced - including players, rather than ball boys, having to fetch their towels.

Federer, who turns 40 in August, said he was somewhat surprised by his strong performance.

"I didn't think I could play at this level for two hours against Marin," Federer said.

"I finished by serving really well. It shows I have something in reserve, I have some energy left and that's really good for my confidence."

with agencies

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