'Shameless': Tennis fans left furious over Roger Federer 'rip off'

The Italian Open has sparked controversy by doubling ticket prices after Roger Federer’s decision to play at the tournament.

One day after his three-set loss to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open quarter-finals, Federer announced he’d changed his plans and would be taking part in Rome.

“Just finished speaking to the team and happy to say I’m coming back to Rome to play in Italy,” he said in an Instagram video.

“Can’t wait. It’s so exciting. It’s been too long. I’ll see you there. Ciao tutti. Bye bye.”

While fans were initially overjoyed at the prospect of seeing the Swiss legend back in action, their joy soon turned to outrage.

Just hours after Federer’s announcement, Italian Open organisers revealed they’d bumped up ticket prices from €60 to €132 ($96 to $212).

And their justification only made people angrier.

“We want to reward fans who had bought tickets before they knew Federer would play,” the Italian Tennis Federation said.

Change of plans?

The decision was somewhat of a surprise given Federer was previously thought to be only interested in playing one lead-up tournament before the French Open.

The Italian Open starts on Sunday and Federer has a first-round bye as the No. 3 seed.

Federer is a four-time runner-up at the Italian Open, which he’s never won, making it one of the few significant trophies the 20-time grand slam winner hasn’t claimed.

Roger Federer. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

He skipped the clay swing the past two years to remain fit for the rest of the season.

He decided to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015.

Roland Garros starts on May 26.

with AFP