Roger Federer And Novak Djokovic Embroiled In Towelgate At ATP Finals?
by Sean Randall | November 17th, 2015, 10:10 pm

I’ve been asked to report on this. Since it’s the internet and these kinds of stories make news, here’s what happened before the match when Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic walked out on court.

Federer came out first, took the first chair, the same chair he selected when he beat Tomas Berdych. Djokovic was left with the second chair which remarkably had a Roger Federer labeled towel on his chair, as noted by the Tennis Channel crew. Djokovic came out, started unpacking, saw the towel, looked up to the chair or official as if for confirmation everyone was in their right seats, and then proceeded to cover the towel with a generic towel.

There you have it. Our first real controversy of the 2015 ATP Finals.

After the match, Federer was actually asked about “towelgate”!

Q: I think this is the second time this has happened for you against Novak. You’ve walked out taken the wrong chair.
Roger Federer: Took the wrong chair?

Q: The towels were on the wrong side.
Roger Federer: Okay a towel doesn’t mean much to me to be quite honest. I’m not going to be pushed by a towel. I sat on that chair when I walked out against Tomas. I said, I’d like to sit here again. I walked out first. Usually the guy who walks out first decides which side he wants to sit. That’s the rules to me, not a towel to be quite honest. Maybe to you a towel matters more. To me a towel is to take a shower with.

Isn’t this what the ATP Finals are all about? The best in the world talking about what else but towels? Federer sets it straight. I wonder if Novak packed that Federer towel up. I’m sure he could fetch a few bucks on eBay for it.

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22 Comments for Roger Federer And Novak Djokovic Embroiled In Towelgate At ATP Finals?

jane Says:

lol, ha ha. good “reporting” sean. :D
fed and novak better get their towels straight for goodness sake.

skeezer Says:

Lol loved it!
“To me a towel is to take a shower with.”

Margot Says:

I thought it was Germans who placed their towels in rather strategic places in order to gain advantage……Has Becker switched sides? ;)

Revant Says:

I’m sorry sean but you just cant say stuff like that. That is just rude. It is a small incident but please dont demean djokovic in that manner. Not professional

J-Kath Says:

Yep Margot – memories of Famagusta and the like..

PS: the Fed. is German-Swiss so it’s in his genes LOL

madmax Says:


Daniel Says:

Love the towelgate. If I were Djoko or his team or even the organizers I put 2 towels with ND name, if they ate to meet in the finals again, in both chairs, just to see Fed’s reaction. If he would laugh or what.

Noonen Says:

Federer is so childish and full of himself. I will be glad when he is off the tour. Novak is so much better a person. It hurts me to see him being dissed in various ways. My guess is it is spiritual. Though neither he nor Federer nor Nadal is a Christian, the latter two men are more worldly. The world has become so very sinful.

Emily Says:

Well, some people were mentioning that they thought the players were too friendly. While this seems very petty, both of their post-match remarks had some bite to them. Can’t be friends with everyone I guess

the_mind_reels Says:

Some people really taking the players’ comments on this wildly trivial incident far too seriously, it would seem…

Leo Says:

Silly article. I am sure this isn’t the first time on the ATP tour that someone has accidentally taken what was meant for another…. I mean does this not happen in our ordinary every day life…?

Gypsy Gal Says:

LOL Whatever next?….

senorita Says:

Margot Says:
“I thought it was Germans who placed their towels in rather strategic places in order to gain advantage……Has Becker switched sides? ;)”

November 18th, 2015 at 1:46 am

No, but Becker works for Djoker. You’ve hit the nail on the head.

senorita Says:


“Djokovic is a member of the Serbian Orthodox Christian church, and in April 2011, he was awarded the Order of St. Sava, 1st class, the highest decoration given, “for his demonstrated love for the church and the Serbian people.”


Tennis king Says:

This is not the first time that Federer is doing this. He did the same stunt in 2012. I highly doubt that it was unintentional.

Here is article from USA Today 2012.

“Traditionally, the bench to the left of the chair umpire is reserved for the higher-ranked player in a tennis match. In the case of the year-end match at the ATP World Tour Finals between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the honor should have gone to Djokovic, the world No. 1.

But Federer entered the O2 Arena first for Monday’s final and took the chair for himself. It’s a familiar seat — no man in history has spent more weeks at No. 1 than Federer — but one that wasn’t supposed to be his on Monday evening.

As noted by a number of tennis observers on Twitter, Djokovic appeared to notice the faux pas when he entered and seemed annoyed. He went on to lose the first nine points of the match en route to a quick 0-3 deficit. That’s not saying there’s any causation, mind you. Yet players, even ones with as much talent as Djokovic, have been thrown off by less.

Purcell Says:

We were there on Tuesday night, sitting right opposite the players and nothing untoward was noticed. More importantly, it was a great match with breathtaking shot making. That’s why we love tennis, right? That’s why we’ve been going since it started in 2009.
Furthermore, the crowd was respectful to both players, the fans of both players kept us amused with their chants and antics and those in the corporate boxes were watching rather than clinking their glasses, clanking their cutlery and braying at each other.
The press, as usual, tried to stir things up firstly with ‘towel gate’ and then with the post-match comments from both.
USA Today……surely you don’t take that paper seriously. Isn’t it the US equivalent of The Daily Mail!? Unfortunately most of the ‘quality’ rags are also falling into the trap with their inflammatory and misinformed headlines and reportage.

Daniel Says:

Did not know that in WTF, the left side of umpair is always for the high seed player. If so, maybe Fed could have made it intentional. He sure do know tennis protocol better than most. But what he said makes sense, who ever enters first pick a side, which was what I always thought happens. Never notrd before if there is name of players on each bench pre match.

Wog Boy Says:

I don’t have doubt in my mind mind that Roger knows what he is doing and where was he supposed to sit, the towel with his name was on thar chair for the reason, the reason that Roger knows very well being top dog for so long, but by saying that, that wasn’t the reason Nole lost, Roger was simply better player that night,

Giles Says:

Well, the ploy worked, joker was annoyed. Mission accomplished!! 😜

RZ Says:

Reading the quote at the end of this article ( shows how much the press is making a mountain out of a molehill.


Roger will do anything to sit on top of NOVA!!!

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