Federer slams German criteria for Olympic spots

Swiss tennis star Roger Federer has said it is “a joke” that there could be no German men entered in the tennis event at the London Olympic Games.

By (AFP)

Published: Wed 20 Jun 2012, 5:47 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:14 PM

Under German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) rules, only players ranked 24th in the world or higher on June 11 qualify for London with the Olympic tournament being held on the famous grass-courts of Wimbledon.

A player can also book his London ticket, under the DOSB regulations, by reaching the quarter-finals at one of the last three Grand Slam events or the semi-finals at one of the last five premier ATP tournaments.

But with time running out for the Germans, Federer has slammed the rules.

“It is a joke how high the criteria has been set,” said the 30-year-old, who has won 16 Grand Slam titles.

“I’d like to see as many German players as possible at Wimbledon.”

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) regulations state a player ranked amongst the top 56 can play in London, but unless things change, no German male players will entered at the Olympic tournament which starts Saturday July 28.

Germany’s top players Florian Mayer and Philipp Kohlschreiber are ranked 28th and 29th respectively, with Haas ranked 49th.

“Kohlschreiber has beaten Rafael Nadal, Tommy has beaten me, and we are two of the favourites for both Wimbledon and the Olympics,” added Federer who appealed to the DOSB to change their guidelines.

“You have to open the eyes, look beyond the boundaries and see the bigger picture,” he added.

The 34-year-old Haas rolled back the years on Sunday to beat Federer 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 win in the final at Halle’s ATP tournament to break back into the top 50 on the ATP rankings as he returns from injury.

His Davis Cup team-mate Philipp Kohlschreiber summed up the feelings towards the DOSB rules with both Kohlschreiber and Haas having both performed well on grass, especially Haas who reached the 2009 semi-finals at Wimbledon.

“I think this whole discussion is inappropriate. It’s quite shit,” said the 28-year-old Kohlschreiber bluntly.

All is not lost as the ITF does offer wild-card places at the Olympics, but neither Haas, nor Kohlschreiber are guaranteed a spot.

Kohlscreiber is just five places short in the world rankings of qualifying for London and Klaus Eberhard, sports director of the German Tennis Federation (DTB), is hoping to persuade the DSOB to show some leniency.

“We’re in good conversations with the DOSB,” Eberhard told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

“I am confident for Philip.”

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