Roger Federer: The French Open Balls Are Not the Same, And That’s Frustrating [Video]
by Tom Gainey | May 23rd, 2011, 4:46 pm

Third-seeded Roger Federer had no trouble this time around with Feliciano Lopez today in the first round at the French Open at Roland Garros, Paris. Federer, who saved a matchpoint in a three tiebreak thriller in Madrid earlier this month, cruised past Lopez today in straight sets 63 64 76(3).

Federer focused early in his interview on a hot topic of conversation, the new balls used at the French Open this year.

“That for us is the most frustrating part is that the tournaments all changed to the Roland Garros ball after last year,” Federer said. “Roland Garros has changed their balls again. Now we’re stuck with a different deal for all the different ATP Tour events. That is the frustrating part that we need to adjust before the French, different balls.”

Federer then talked about his current streak of playing 46 straight Grand Slam tournaments in a row.

“I just remember that I’ve not missed one, really, except maybe the one because qualifying then I think don’t count for the streak or they don’t interrupt them,” Federer said. “I got two wildcards here. Then was first out of the US Open, and then from then on I was in every main draw of the Grand Slams. Sometimes you’ve got to get lucky, and I’m sure I didn’t play all the Grand Slams, you know, feeling my very, very best, but at least I scheduled around it. So most likely I had a good chance to feel well.”

In the second round on Wednesday Federer will play Frenchman Maxime Teixeira. Federer won the French Open in 2009.

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8 Comments for Roger Federer: The French Open Balls Are Not the Same, And That’s Frustrating [Video]

skeezerweezer Says:

Totally agree Fed, but your guys ( ATP players council ) has to take some responsibility here. None of you guys knew they were going to change balls ahead of time and test them? Did they hoodwink the tour? Also, the players are the tour are the players who play the game, not the officials. They do have an input, so I don’t get this developing story and am suspicious of the way this all came down. The only ball change lately at a GS was at A0 in 2006, otherwise the same brand of ball has been the same on all GS tourneys for Eons….

jane Says:

It is amazing how the press exaggerates what players say. “Murray slams ball change!” “Sulky Federer says balls to it all” “Djokovic complains about new balls!” In actually fact, all these players were asked about the balls and merely said “they are fast, so hard to control” or “the switch is disappointing” but they are hardly as exasperated as these headlines imply. I know this is nothing new, but it almost seems like the media is making more out of the balls than the players. Even though the players have a right to be concerned about the switch, especially if they weren’t privvy to it ahead of time, which, as skeeze points out, does seem surprising.

Nina Says:

Anyway I think it’s completely inappropriate to change balls without notice and without time for the players to test the new ball and conditions. I think it’s totally unfair to the players. And we should ask “why the hell they change the balls now?”. I mean, what is the purpose of it? Absurd, really.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane- I agree, regarding the standard making-up-a-headline reporting. To Skeeze’s point- the Slams are the only really independent tournament, right? Or more so than the others, overseen by ITF not ATP. So maybe players have less say… maybe there’s a decades old pissing match by the Slams to show they don’t bow to player demands (like white ate WImbledon).

grendel Says:

I’m not absolutely sure about the details – maybe someone else can correct any error. But going back a tennis generation, the powers that be at Wimbledon insisted there had been no change of the balls. Either Tim Henman or Todd Woodbridge or in some sense both claimed that he (they) had kept a ball after each Wimbledon over a number of years, and the difference was clear – the change was designed to slow the game down.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

I remember the same. I think a lot of players called bs on that.

jeanius Says:

The announcement of new balls came months ago, which made this issue entirely predictable.Who can blame them for being upset? I’m surprised the players didn’t stage a revolt when it was announced. Why didn’t they?

Skeezerweezer Says:


Apparently Rafa knew about them, gave his approval and likes them, according to this source;

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