Roger Federer hits back at whinging young rival

Roger Federer has offered the perfect response after Alexander Zverev complained that the tennis season is too long.

The 21-year-old German played his 74th Tour match of the season on Wednesday and appeared to run out of steam against Novak Djokovic, collapsing to a 6-4 6-1 defeat.

He then spoke out about having to play for 11 months of the year.

“The issue is that our season is way too long. That’s the issue. But I’ve said it before,” Zverev, whose 55 match wins this year is more than any other player, told reporters.

“We play for 11 months a year. That’s ridiculous. No other professional sport does that.”

Many fans labelled Zverev a ‘whinger’, considering he gets to play tennis for a living.

And on Friday, Federer responded to the gripe with a big truth bomb.

Federer and Zverev. Image: Getty

The Swiss Maestro said the answer wasn’t shortening the season, but the players picking and choosing the events they play.

“You can get rid of 20 tournaments (but) I don’t know who wants that,” Federer said after surging into the semis at the ATP Finals.

“The other option is as a team, player and team, to decide which are your priorities and how much can a body take, how much can a mind take, how much travel can someone endure.

“The good thing is we as players are not employed by a club. I can walk right now out of the door and go onto vacation if I want to.

“Nobody is going to stop me. They won’t like it, but I can.

“That’s a massive privilege, I believe, that a tennis player has.”

Federer also spoke about the benefits of taking a break in the middle of the season, as he has done for the past two years.

“I think we’ve done a nice job from a player standpoint to understand it’s not something we do, out of respect to the fans, the tournament organisers, the sponsors and so forth, and also just for the integrity of the game,” he added.

“There’s two ways to look at it. One, it’s nice that there’s so many tournaments. When you get injured, not like skiing, you’re going to miss the entire season.

“The other way, it would be amazing to have five months to work on your game. You could really maximise the player you are, the potential you have.

“Obviously with the little time we have, there’s only so much you can do.

“Both are positive and negative. But the way the tour is structured right now, I just think you have to be very disciplined within the team to decide what’s best for that player, and the player needs to also give his opinion.

“It’s a tricky one, but a good one because we have a lot of highlights in tennis that we really can’t complain.”