Tennis Australia puts brave face on Federer ATP Cup no-show

SYDNEY: Tennis Australia put a brave face Friday on Roger Federer’s withdrawal from the inaugural ATP Cup, but some fans demanded refunds after paying top dollar to see him.The Swiss great, 38, announced on Thursday he was pulling out of the new men’s team competition, to be held in Australia in January, citing “family reasons”.He was scheduled to play in Sydney for Switzerland in the innovative 24-team tournament. Matches will also take place in Perth and Brisbane with Aus$22 million ($15 million) in prize money and a maximum of 750 singles and 250 doubles ATP rankings points at stake.Federer’s no-show leaves a big void, although world number one Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are still scheduled to take part — in Brisbane and Perth respectively. Some disgruntled fans demanded refunds on Twitter.“Very disappointing for Fed fans who paid the exorbitant ticket prices for his Sydney sessions. Will @TennisAustralia@ATPCup refund them?,” asked one. Another complained: “So how do we get a refund then? The prices were jacked up for Roger and now he is not playing.”Others called for a return of the Perth-based mixed-teams Hopman Cup, which routinely got rave reviews from players, including frequent visitor Federer, but was axed to make way for the ATP Cup.“Terrible decision to remove Hopman cup, the players loved the relaxing start to the Australian season,” said one Twitter user. “Don’t want to say I told you so... but.” Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley backed Federer, saying he understood his rationale.“Roger is indisputably a legend of our sport and we have been blessed that he has managed to stay at the top of the game for so long,” he said. “We understand this has been a really difficult decision for him. He has always done an extraordinary job being a great dad while managing his career.“Although we know the fans in Sydney would love to have seen him compete in the ATP Cup, we totally respect his decision and look forward to seeing him at the Australian Open.”Federer, who confirmed he will play at the Australian Open immediately after the ATP Cup, said he had decided an extra two weeks at home with his family would be more beneficial. “It pains me to not be a part of the most exciting new event on the calendar, but this is the right thing to do if I want to continue to play for a longer period of time on the ATP Tour,” he said.

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