Roger Federer on Wednesday admitted that allowing leading players to pick and choose who umpires their matches could set a difficult precedent for tour organisers.
After easing past Spain’s Marcel Granollers in the second round of the French Open at Roland Garros, Federer was drawn into a debate that followed Rafael Nadal’s admission that he had requested the removal of a respected umpire from officiating his matches.
“I think everybody should be treated the same way,” said the Swiss star.
“It goes back to the same thing that everybody is requesting things when they want to play.
“The players understand that not every request can be granted. So at the end of the day, you can make a request, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to get it.
“I think at the end of the day the tournament, tournament director, ATP, governing bodies, ITF, whoever, they need to take the decision, I guess, and the players need to be okay with it or then you can have a dialogue, which can be relaxed or not so relaxed.”
Nadal admitted on Tuesday that he had demanded that respected Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernandes be banned from officiating at his matches.
The 28-year-old Spaniard fell out with Bernardes after the official gave him a code violation for exceeding the 25 seconds between points at a tournament earlier this year.
Nadal insisted his treatment by Bernardes during a semi-final defeat to Fabio Fognini in Rio de Janeiro was unfair as he had put his shorts on back to front and wanted to change them.
Federer added: “It’s very personal … you’re better off with some people and some not, you know. So that’s why I try to really not focus on who is the umpire; try to focus on my game, so those kind of things don’t creep in my head. But it’s hard.”
Federer’s fellow Swiss star Stan Wawrinka admitted that he has aired grievances about umpires in the past but indicated that on this occasion Nadal’s request was ill-conceived and hinted that the top players receive favourable treatment from officials.
“I have already made such requests over a short period of time for direct problems and issues I had with the umpire,” Wawrinka said.
“So when a player makes such a request, it should be granted only if the umpire has made mistakes or faults,” added Wawrinka, the eighth seed in Paris who won through to the third round by beating Dusan Lajovic of Serbia in four sets.
“If it’s just because you don’t like the person, this request should not be accepted.
“Umpires don’t all keep the same watch for all players because they know that if they have trouble with one of the top players and they can’t be on their match, well, tough for them, because they like being there for the finals.
“And if they have problems with top players it becomes difficult with them.
“Umpires are not as strict on the centre court when they are with the top players as compared to when they are on court number 17.”