Defending champions usually feature on centre court at tournaments, so do third seeds. Viktor Troicki is both of those in Sydney this week, yet he hasn’t played on Ken Rosewall Arena.
And the Serbian world No.22 is fuming about it.
After twice winning matches played on outside courts on Friday as the rain ravaged tournament caught up on its schedule Troicki let fly with a verbal volley aimed squarely at tournament organisers.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, I have to say, with the tournament and the tournament organisers that I haven’t had a chance as a defending champion to play on the centre court yet,” Troicki said after winning his semi-final against Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili 3-6 6-4 6-4.
“I played three matches, (I’m) third seed, and so far I haven’t hit a ball on centre court.”
Troicki, the world No.22 believed he was at a disadvantage ahead of Saturday’s final against Dimitrov, who has won both their encounters to date, including last week’s meeting in Brisbane.
“Grigor played all his matches on centre court, which I think is unfair. Maybe they put the finals on court one. That would be fair to me.”
As if his disappointments weren’t great enough this week, Troicki had more in store for those running the tournament over the set-up, unhappy with the way a marquee full of boozy patrons was set up adjacent to court one.
“It’s just disappointing and embarrassing playing a semi-final match full of people drinking right next to you and they’re pretty loud,” Troicki said.
“It’s not really a pleasant situation to play a semi-final match of the world tour event.
“He tells them once, they do it again. He tells them again, they do it again.
“But in the end it worked out. I’m happy that I won, but I was close to losing.
“It wasn’t the ideal place and conditions to play the semi-final match, you know. Centre court is wide and open and you’re there with yourself.
“Here you feel like you’re drinking right with them. They’re right next to the fence having beers, wines, whatever. Yeah, that’s what I told him. Just wasn’t right for me.”
Despite his winning record over Troicki, Dimitrov remains wary of his opponents’ strong form.
“Last week I was down a set and a break against (Troicki),” Dimitrov said.
“He plays good tennis, an all-round player. He knows his way around here pretty well. I’ve seen a couple of his matches, so obviously he’s capable of playing incredible tennis.”
“Of course I like the odds on my side. I’ve been playing better each match and feeling confident with each win, so that really helps a lot coming into a final.”
Dimitrov, the world No.28, qualified for his first final in over 14 months after dispatching Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 6-2 7-6 (7-4), where he lost just two points on serve in a dominant first set.
The big-serving Muller fired back with 12 aces in the second, however it wasn’t enough to stop an in-form Dimitrov sealing his first appearance in a final since being runner-up at Stockholm in October, 2014.