World No.3 Karolina Pliskova has taken a dig at Roger Federer for his comments over not wanting to play at a competitive tournament without a crowd.
Pliskova returned to action this week after she beat Czech compatriot Barbora Stycova 7-5, 6-1 at an exhibition tournament.
But the World No.3 didn’t pull any punches when she took aim at Federer’s recent comments regarding returning to tennis and playing in front of an empty stadium.
Federer recently dismissed the idea of playing without fans once the tennis tours get back underway following the coronavirus crisis.
While Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both supported the idea of playing in empty stadiums, Federer says he hopes it doesn’t happen.
“I can’t imagine competing in an empty stadium, I don’t succeed and I hope it never happens,” he said during a video call with Brazilian legend Gustavo Kuerten.
“It is clear that the possibility is feasible. But I think we could wait for the appropriate moment to return in the best conditions, with at least a third of the stadium full or half in.
“It would be very difficult for me to play major tournaments behind closed doors.”
But Pliskova was having none of that attitude.
She claimed just because he is familiar playing in front of a packed stadium, doesn’t mean all female players are.
“No matter how or what the conditions, it’s better to play some matches than not play anything,” Pliskova told The Telegraph.
“If you have the chance to play a prime-time match, so there’s a lot of people and the atmosphere is great, it’s much better. But we can have matches where there is nobody, so I think it’s not that it would never happen. If you play at 1am, there’s not many people anyway.
“Maybe Roger, he never experienced that, but I think me and the girls overall have had experience of nobody [in the stands]. I know for Roger for sure it has to be different thinking than for me, but I would definitely choose to play.”
Huge stars such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic often get prime time at Grand Slam events because of their global fanbase.
This can lead to tournament organisers pushing other players to start at later schedules or outside courts, which can impact crowd attendance.
Pliskova slams ‘super weak’ male stars
Pliskova also recently hit out at male stars complaining about equal pay.
The debate to whether the WTA and ATP will merge has come to the forefront in tennis following the break of the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But with the merger debate comes the talk of equal pay between men and women.
In an interview ahead of the Czech Republic star’s return to action at the LiveScore Cup in Prague, Pliskova ripped into men who are against the idea despite claiming she does not crave equal pay.
“I don’t think so and I am not the one who wants it,” she said.
“But I don’t like the men who are complaining that we would get the same money. I think it is super weak from them that they complain we have the same money as them.
“The only time it is true is at grand slams. I understand they play longer, but they are men. They are stronger than us.”