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Federer tells players to stop moaning

July 01, 2008 11:31 IST

Players should stop grumbling about playing on the outside courts at Wimbledon and get on with their real jobs, world number one Roger Federer said on Monday.

On the sixth day of the grasscourt championships, Serena Williams and Serbian world number two Jelena Jankovic hit out at organisers after they were shunted off the two main showcourts at the All England Club.

While twice former champion Williams was popped on to Court Two, Jankovic was unhappy at playing her fourth-round match on the far flung Court 18 which she described as being "almost in the parking lot". Federer, who beat Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 6-2 6-4 on Centre Court on Monday, said players should stop paying so much attention to their billing at Wimbledon.

"The thing is Pete (Sampras) played on Court Two after winning seven years. Who deserves what here?" asked the world number one, referring to Sampras's final match here when he was beaten by Switzerland's George Bastl on the infamous court.

"It's the club who decides in the end. We're happy to be playing here. They can put us at Aorangi (practice courts) or Roehampton if they want to, but we have to accept the fact."

The scheduling on Monday certainly raised eyebrows because defending women's champion Venus Williams, who is chasing a fifth title here, was also demoted to the infamous 'graveyard of the champions' Court Two.

Tournament referee Andrew Jarrett said organising the packed schedule on the second Monday meant not all players could play on the courts they preferred.

"With 16 matches to play on six show courts, it is inevitable that some leading players will be scheduled away from Centre and Court One," he said.

"This is always the case on the second Monday at Wimbledon and as such provides a great opportunity for spectators."

Although Venus refused to get drawn into the argument her younger sister Serena did not hold back.

"Initially I thought, okay, is this the right schedule? I thought maybe there was a mistake," the eight-times grand slam winner, who followed Venus on to the same court, said.

The Williamses might have the right to feel aggrieved since the last time Federer was off the two main showcourts at Wimbledon was the 2003 quarter-finals against Dutchman Sjeng Schalken and that was before he had won his first title.

However, the Swiss said he would not be bothered if was demoted.

"I wouldn't be disappointed if they put me on Court Two," said Federer, who is chasing a modern era record sixth consecutive men's title.

"It's also kind of cool. You're closer to the crowds. It's kind of a different feeling out there."

But moments later, contradicting himself, he added: "I hope that day will not come for me, that I will have to play on Court Two. I understand there's a little bit of a disappointment maybe but I don't think it has anything to do with disrespect. I don't think that's what this tournament is all about."

(Editing by Clare Lovell)

Pritha Sarkar
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