Roger Federer wasn’t his usual cool self during a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2 loss to Andy Murray in the Australian Open semifinals on Friday.
As The New York Times reported, the television microphones picked up expletives from the 17-time major champion on multiple occasions.
[T]he BBC was compelled on Friday to apologize for Federer’s “bad language.”
Federer’s first clearly audible obscenity in his semifinal loss to Andy Murray came with Murray serving at 4-5, 15-30. Murray fired a body serve which Federer could just get his backhand in front of and sent him into mostly indistinguishable muttering, punctuated with a loud, hard expletive in the middle.
Federer’s second audible offense came with Murray serving at 3-4, 40-40, in the fourth set. Murray won a 17-shot rally, and Federer exclaimed that his opponent had been “lucky,” preceding that word with a choice adverb.
Popping off at the back of the court is one thing, but directing comments at your opponent is another. With Murray serving for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set, here’s how The Times described the first point of that game:
Murray prevailed in 15-stroke rally with a forehand winner, with both players finishing the point near the net. But Federer, on the brink of defeat, appeared to have taken issue with a slight mid-rally [hesitation] by Murray, and shouted “you [expletive]-ing stopped!” across the net. Murray appeared at first surprised, then amused, twisting his face into an exaggeratedly satisfied smirk, laughing and nodding toward his player’s box.
Here’s video of the point in question. Murray downplayed the incident after the match and refused to repeat what Federer said to him.
“I wasn’t that surprised,” Murray said. “Stuff like that happens daily in tennis matches. … It was very, very mild in comparison to what happens in other sports.”
Murray added that there were no hard feelings, saying, “People will want to make a big deal of it, and it isn’t really a big deal.”
Federer also downplayed the incident.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” he said. “We just looked at each other one time. That’s OK, I think, in a three-and-a-half-hour match. We were just checking each other out for [a] bit. No, I mean, that wasn’t a big deal for me. I hope not for him.”
Murray went on to lose the game and the set in a tiebreaker, but he dismissed the idea that Federer’s outburst had anything to do with it.
“I think it didn’t rattle me,” Murray said. “I think he raised his game, and that’s what happens. Sometimes guys need to get emotion into the match.”
Federer’s fire was short-lived. Murray broke early in the fifth set and won it in 30 minutes.
Federer, of course, was a hot-tempered player when he was younger, and he’s been known to have an outburst every once in a while. Here he is yelling at the French crowd to “shut up” at Roland Garros last year: