The Real Reason the Australian Open Final Was With the Roof Closed? Roger Federer.

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Remember Saturday night, when women’s runner up Simona Halep played for just under three hours in the heat? She also had to play for 3 hours and 47 minutes against American Lauren Davis in the heat of the day, with the Romanian claiming she was “almost dead” after the match. Not only that, but she played on Wednesday evening against sixth seed Karolina Pliskova and then the very next day session to beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 9-7 in the decider.

Regardless of all the battles the women’s #1 seed went through and the toll it was taking on her body, the Australian Open refused to play the women’s final indoors; instead they opted for a 10-minute break after the second set so Halep and Wozniacki could cool down in the locker rooms. Unfortunately, after the match Simona Halep was taken into hospital for dehydration, something I can’t say was too unsurprising given the scheduling and organising decisions she was subject to (photo in tweet).


Or how about Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils in the second round? A match where the temperature reportedly reached 69 degrees Celsius on Rod Laver Arena. But even despite the flamboyant Frenchman looking like he was going to collapse on court and barely show any emotion at all, the Australian Open organisers refused to close the roof. The official Australian Open Twitter account actually went on to tweet this:

They clearly state the “health of our players is of paramount concern.” Clearly not the case for evident reasons, some mentioned above. They have three roofs here in Melbourne. If they actually cared about players health, they would close the roofs on hot days and postpone outside court matches to the evening where they’re playable.

They also go on to say “so some don’t get an unfair advantage.” If this is true then why are some players being treated so badly with scheduling? Such as Halep having to play one evening then the very next day during the day, or how about all of Federer’s bigger rivals in his section of the draw playing during the day? No wonder the likes of Del Potro and David Goffin, the last man to beat the 36-year-old, lost. Maybe they would have lost early anyway, but the extreme heat made if far more likely.

When it comes to the men’s final, it’s clearly a completely different ball game to those in charge at the Australian Open. If you look at that tweet above again it clearly states the referee will initiate the extreme heat policy if temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius; the funny thing is today that wasn’t even the case, so why was the roof shut? The tournament did give the official explanation that the reason was because the WBGT was over 32.5, which they claim it hasn’t been above any other day of the tournament. That still doesn’t match up with the tweet, though.

The simple reason is two words: Roger Federer. For the second year in a row, the Swiss man was entering the championship match with five of his six matches having been played at night, with him even admitting he asks and wants evening matches when possible. On the other hand, Marin Cilic was coming into the final with just three of these matches being at night, one of those not even being on Rod Laver Arena.

The Croatian himself said he was “preparing for a hot day” and that playing with the roof closed “was difficult to adjust,” evidently shown with his horrid start to the final going down 0-4. He also claims the officials didn’t ask for his opinion on whether the final should have been played indoors, “They didn’t ask me. They just came to me to tell me that they are thinking about decision.” While all of this was happening and Marin Cilic was practicing for the final outdoors and defending champion Roger Federer indoors. Surely that’s not a coincidence?

Some of you might now be wondering why the Australian Open would choose to play the final indoors because of Roger Federer and that’s simple. As mentioned earlier, with the matches he’s had to make the final he’s played mostly at night thus being used to the cooler conditions, with the roof closed here that would keep the conditions cool even on a hot night–thus giving the Swiss man an advantage without having to adapt to rapidly different conditions despite it being indoors.

Furthermore, Federer has the best indoor record of any player born after 1961 and also the most indoor titles of any player in the history of tennis, highlighted by his six World Tour Finals titles. If you want Roger Federer to win a match, your safest bet is to have him play it indoors. Just look at the Wimbledon 2012 final for example, against Andy Murray. Once the rain came it was an insanely different match from the two previous sets.

Why is this the case? 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash said, “The way Roger plays and takes the ball so early means any wind making the ball move is detrimental to him,” not even mentioning that the Swiss’ serve is one of the best on tour and even harder to deal with indoors. It was always going to be a hard task for Marin Cilic to beat Roger Federer but the match being indoors was always going to make it nigh impossible.

Roger Federer also has more connections with the Australian Open than most others. His management company, TEAM8, was in association with Tennis Australia in creating the Laver Cup. Tennis Australia being the governing body of the Australian Open with CEO Craig Tiley being the director of the grand slam. This could have possibly led to favouritism for the six-time champion due to a conflict of interests. No wonder John McEnroe joked, “What’s the difference between privilege and blatant cheating?”

To conclude, it’s obvious, the reason the final was played indoors was to benefit Roger Federer. When it comes to every other player in the singles draws, no one gets the preferred treatment that Federer does. To win his last two titles here he’s played 12 of his 14 matches on Rod Laver Arena at night; while he is a superstar and tennis’ main attraction it’s somewhat expected, but to an extent such as this it’s simply unfair on his fellow competitors. Tennis will never be fair for everyone involved, but shouldn’t we at least be aiming to make it more fair?

The fact we didn’t get earlier round matches like Monfils vs Djokovic or the women’s final indoors is funny in itself, but when you consider we got the men’s final indoors for no good reason, and clearly in a way that benefited one of the finalists more, it’s truly laughable. They might as well just rename Rod Laver Arena to Roger Federer Arena soon as the bias clearly has no limit.

(Of course, this is all conjecture. The Australian Open would never admit this. But it honestly makes far more sense than any other explanation.)

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

51 COMMENTS

  1. “All of this is conjecture.”
    OK, so this is just YOUR opinion. But a very biased and ignorant opinion.
    Here is what I suggest: Learn what wet bulb temperature is. Then read the extreme heat policy at AO. Then realize that even when Djokovic was playing, the humidity was not excessive even though temperatures were.
    Not everything about tennis is because of Federer.

    Also, can you please post your credentials somewhere. I can’t find them. Who are you and how are you qualified to write about tennis?

    • He probably is a butthurt rafa trying to demean Roger’s success. But what he doesn’t realize is that how pathetic his article looks for others. And I don’t think he has guts to reveal his credentials.

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. Those of us who are not in blind adoration of Roger Federer know this already and also know that nothing will ever be done about it. If only more people with influence had the courage and honour to speak out.

    • earlier rounds there where more matches, so if some would have been indoors then this would have been unfair – here we had only one match – the final! there is no Hawk-Eye on the clay and do you remember the Goffin-Nadal last year? who is treated better than the rest??!!

  3. What a load of bull**** coming from a pathetic Federer hater that calls himself ‘journalist and writer’. Pitiful human being. Hope you’ve swallowed your tears.

    • José
      That’s all you got to say? Bitter fan? Please, you must be a blinded fan then, as he is reporting FACTS, regarding many players who suffered the weather conditions when Federer had not, and he even got the roof closed, which is perfect for him, while Cilic was training outside. Do you think this is fair? Maybe Federer would have won regardless, we will never know. But this victory to me is bogus. Nothing compared to his victory against Nadal last year. And HE knows it. I’m a Rafa fan, and still gutted for that final. It was won by the best on court that day, mentally and physically (even if Rafa had one less day of rest but hey, that was bad luck in the end, not this ridiculous preferential treatment). So, instead of your sterile comments please just remove your blinds.

      • Big fat bullcrap. Those are not ‘facts’, those are suppositions pointed out by a known Federer hater. Check his pathetic and biased twitter feed.

        And did you know that Cilic CHOOSE TO PRACTICE outside? He was given the chance to practice indoor. You can check his interview after the match.

        Do you know that the roof closed actually HELPS Cilic, not only because of his play style of flat groundstrokes, but actually, he has more indoor hard-court titles than outdoors? Actually, from his last 5 titles, 3 were indoors. I guess you had no idea about that, right?

        Check the real facts before saying anything. And the ‘tennis writer’ who took his time to produce such a crappy article certainly never picked up a racket in his miserable life.

        • Jose

          Yes I did know he decided to practice outside and you know what? It made perfect sense! You are a tennis player fighting for a Grand Slam, you want to win (duh!) so you practice before the match trying to get used to the weather conditions that are expected during the match. You need to adjust the string tension, to feel the ball with a certain humidity and so on. It makes sense, right?

          Now, can you please tell me why Federer decide to practice indoors? Did he completely lose his mind? He is a veteran, he knows how difficult it is for the body to suddenly adjust to a completely different environment, to adjust the strings, and so on. So why in hell did he decide to still train indoor? Was he drunk?! Was he like “oh, let’s stay one hour more in a more comfortable temperature, so I won’t lose my energies or something 😀 (completely disregarding the previous points that are pivotal for a player)?

          Can you please explain this to me? Or maybe someone told him that the possibilities of playing indoor were pretty high (wink wink) and no one told Cilic (or else he was drunk too to refuse and still train outside).

          People are u serious?? Can’t you really see what happened? I’m so disgusted by this that I lost respect for tennis.

          • Oh, almost forgot. Yes you are right. Indoors also favors Cilic. If only he could have adjusted his body beforehand, as he said it himself in the post-match interview (facts, HE SAID IT) that adjusting to the indoor conditions was hard at first. Maybe the organizers took this into consideration too?? (wink wink)

            WAKE UP!

      • But Cilic is not a great player though. Check out his Head to head with Zverev, 4-1 Murray, 12-3 Djoko, 14-1 Nadal 5-2 and Federer. 9-1, Goffin 3-2, Thiem 1-0

        He is a good mover for a man his size and has an awesome serve. But thats it. I do feel he is getting better and thats how these things go…he may learn some more, or he will fade away.

        Why you guys would even have this argument is beyond me.

  4. so, the meaning is the roof only cover Roger side court? and the opponent was exposed to hi sun and heat?
    Doesn’t matter who is playing, roof covered, cover both, roof open, open both, if there is heat, both get same temperature. Or you mean Roger all AO 2018 opponents prefer a roof open and hi heat court, that’s why they lost to Roger?

    • Lame comments! Obviously both players played under a closed roof but, only one — Roger, is a master player in indoor conditions; only Roger has played 12 of his last 14 matches at AO in the evening; only Roger has played 14 of his last 14 matches on Rod Laver arena; only Roger was able to practice indoors prior to the final.

      • Do basic research before posting lameass comments. Check Cilic’s record indoors.Or do you want me to post that for you ? Closed roofwould have helped Cilic more than it did Federer.

          • This doesnt say anything …Federers total win% is 82. Cilics total win% is 66%. If it says anything it says that Cilic is better indoors than outdoors.

          • Ok, let’s go ahead and expand on this then… Top tennis players and commentators agree that Fed is the best indoor player currently and top 3 all-time, which relates to his reliance on his precision serves and taking the ball early to take time away from his opponents. It’s obvious that humidity and wind are going to make these advantages harder to implement than in the still, cool, drier conditions under the roof. As an added bonus to Fed with his play style, the AO officials resurfaced the courts earlier for this year so that they ended up faster than previous years. Regardless of out-of-match practice decisions that Cilic may or may not have had advance notice to choose to take indoors, the fact is that Cilic played 3 daytime matches to Fed’s 1 (compounded by Fed’s nighttime schedule from last AO and all on Rod Laver), which included a tough 4.5-set match against 1-Nadal and 4-set match against 10-Carreno-Busta. Cilic had 6 more hours of competitive play than Fed, mostly in the hot sun with the roof open. It’s obvious who was not only fresher for this final due to an easier draw/schedule but had a much less extreme adjustment in conditions to make for a closed roof. Cilic and Fed have both said that the roof closure definitely played a role in the outcome of the first set of the final, which makes perfect sense given the comments above. If you don’t think the indoor stats carry weight, how about the fact that Fed’s W/L after winning the first set is 1015/72 = 93% and W/L after losing first set is 124/178 = 41%? For comparison, although it doesn’t matter as much, Cilic’s stats here are 87% and 29%, respectively. Any 1st set advantage here was practically guaranteed to hand Fed the trophy. No single stat or condition need tell the entire story here. I only provided what was directly referenced in the comment I was responding to before, but it takes very little additional research/thinking to see plain as day that Fed had every advantage he could possibly get to win the AO final this year. The whole roof debacle was just a new and embarrassingly obvious one.

      • Of course, Federer plays the Rod Laver Arena. And on some other court to play the most popular player in the world? on some shallow court in the daytime? People pay money to look at this tennis player, and they put him at a convenient time for the spectators and the biggest court

  5. Basia,

    The extreme heat policy at the AO is:
    Wet Bulb Globe Temperature > 32.5C *AND* Ambient Temperature > 40C

    AO communicated publicly with me on Twitter about this and acknowledged that rule during the Djokovic/Monfils match. They used that rule as an argument to why the play was not stopped or the roof closed. Fair, since only one condition was met.

    Now for the final only one of the two condition is met, and they close the roof.
    Fair? Don’t think so.

    • SeaEagle
      I was in that conversation too. And I’m not even a Nole fan. I was disgusted by the treatment certain player get and how they dictate what they want and get it. If Federer had to win this no matter what, and be a fair win, then he should have played in similar conditions as the others. But the fans are too blinded to see the truth. I’m a tennis fan first, and this is a shame for tennis. Monfils almost passed out, Halep went to the hospital and upssss! For the final who cares if not both conditions are met? Roof closed, perfect condition for ONE player in particular. Duh… AO wanted Federer to win of course. All marketing. Too bad that maybe he could have won regardless but they would still have my respect and the respect of many other tennis fans who are disgusted by their ways.

  6. Pathetic article. Federer’s outdoor hard court win percentage is higher than his indoor hard court record. Cilic’s indoor hard court win percentage is higher than his outdoor record. Cilic is a bigger server than Federer and hits the ball a lot flatter with a lot less margin for error than Federer does. It’s him that would struggle more in outdoor conditions than Federer(Federer is one of the best at serving in the wind regardless, as he proved at the USO vs Soderling in 2010 and Agassi back in 2004). To be blunt, if the match was played outdoors Federer would have beaten Cilic even easier than he did in the indoor match. Oh and Cilic had the option to practice indoors, but chose not to. He was also informed of the possibility of the roof being closed, just like Federer was. It wasn’t unfair, if anything closing the roof made it tougher for Federer to win the title.

    • This.I just responded similarly to an earlier comment. The Fed haters have reached desperation now and are trying to make up wild concocted theories which is sans logic but hey logic isn’t their strong forte.

  7. I agree with this article 100%. The Australian Open and Wimbledon just favour Federer all the time. The sooner he retires the better so that all players will then be treated fairly. I think the International Tennis Federation should look into this decision about closing the roof. It has brought the sport into disrepute and Federer does not deserve this title.

    • I cldnt agree more. Federer shld retire and let the younger players come up. His back was onviously bothering him in mid match but because he had so little play before and closed roof, cilic had it hard and Federer easy.

      • The conditions favored Federer obviously not only during the final but all throughout the tournament. His rythym was never disturbed. Never on a hot day. Always on at night while others suffered in the heat. The optics are so bad that the AO looks like a corrupt tournament. Does not promote fair play. Just favoring one player.

    • Are you salty that the AO and Wimby don’t give Nadal his rigged top-25-free draws like the USO does ? We all saw what happened when he faced a top player finally at the AO.

      • Rafa Nadal is more successful than Federer because he has won a higher percentage of his grand slams than Federer has. Fed has only won more because he is 5 years older and so has participated in more. The delusional Federer fans don’t seem to know basic maths. Also, where was Federer between the Aus Open 2010 and Aus Open 2017? He only won one Grand slam in that 7 year period and I think only made one other final. He could not win any when Rafa and Djokovic were at their peek.

        • Nadal can not be more successful than Federer, because he has fewer slams, fewer weeks on the first place and fewer titles. Well, plus, he just plays tennis worse than Roger.
          As for the percentage of victories, Nadal has 16 slams from 51, Federer has 20 from 72. The difference is only 4 percent. Federer is older by five years. Five years ago the difference was much better. Now Nadal will lose 5-6 slams in a row and the percentage of his wins will fall. And he will inevitably lose: as an example of USOpen 2017 shows, Rafa can not win slams where there are top-25 players. Now he is able to win non-clay slams only with very weak draws.

          • Rafa has a winning head to head against Fed. Fed has only just got a winning head to head against Tim Henman of all people and lost his first 7 matches against Henman. I couldn’t believe this when I learnt this last year. Rafa beat Fed the first time he played him, on a hard court! It’s statistics like this that really show that Fed isn’t all that great.

        • lol. So? Heydy Djokovic was the final race with Federer 33 or 34-years-old?. And now 30-years-old Djokovic keep losing easily to weak players?. When Federer was their age, he has a better record.

          • Novak is INJURED. Roger has NOTHING on a healthy Novak just evidenced by their last four slam meetings. (the last AO one was a blowout in the fist two sets). Also their last two meetings Nole was already on the cusp of 30. Now Roger is winning again with everyone (particularly Novak . Obviously a week era champ.

          • Djokovic was unstable from before the injury. Federer is not always healthy.
            He is also fighting chronic injuries on the back and waist.

            during the heyday Djokovic fought repeatedly with 32, 33, 34-years-old Federer repeatedly.

            It is impossible for 32, 33, 34 years old Djokovic.

            Nadal have the possibility of Clay maybe.

    • The Australian Open and Wimbledon not favour Federer all the time – simply he’s just the best player in history on grass and hard. Naturally, the best player in history will have better results on hard and grass slams

        • the Hard Court GS title. Federer has 11. Djokovic has 9. Sampras has 7. Nadal has 4.

          11 > 9 > 7 > 4

          OK, I know. You’d take HtoH. Davydenko 4 - 0 Nadal in hard court.

  8. Yep. He hit the nail on the head. Everything to benefit Federer. They didn’t even give #1 the cooler matches thru the tournament. That is a whole lot of crap! It was so obvious from the beginning that I don’t want to watch it anymore. One tournament I won’t be looking forward to next year. It wasn’t fair and Federer should have not requested favors. First time I noticed Federer used his power to benefit himself. His true colors are coming out!!! Don’t like calling him a snob but if the shoe fits.

    • Wait …When did federer ask for a favour?? When did ask for the roof being closed? is tht official or are you propagating your own opinions as truths! You are a Rafa fan tht is why you are making up wild theories and accusations. Hands down federer is the GOAT! you dont see anyone complaning tht roland garros clay is so slow for OVER A DECADE that it suits rafa? Yess there are speeds to clay too just like hard and grass. Did you know there is aclay tournamnet tht Nadal hasnt won yet (Monte carlos) becuase the clay is faster and federer in his prime had beaten nadal multiple times? Ohh wait that must be a conspiracy right? But roland garros clay ohh noo you will not complain about tht will you? What if Rolnad garros organisers opted for clay like Monte Carlos…how many French open would nadal have then? but tht is a decision of the organisers and not some conspiracy…you dont hear any complain about clay of french open by federer fans so why dont you keep quite and stop behaving like a child

  9. I am not sure how this is why Federer won. They have played 10 times. Last time it was blister, today it was closed roof. But no complains when Cilic won his only match against Federer.

    So, what about the last few AO tournaments? How can you suggest these things with Rod Laver in the room?? So, they will favour Roger over Leyton, Rod or any other person?

    What about last year? He only beat Nadal because of one reason or the other, right?

    What about Miami, Cincinnati, Wimbledon, London ATP?

    Lastly, how did Federer even beat Sampras in 2001? He must have cheated somehow…they cooked it up so he can dethrone Sampras.

    • Nada fan and Djoko fan make an excuse with jealousy and hatred. 

      Nadal lost a good play of Malin. and He was hurt halfway what.

      Djokovic lost to Chung. He was defeated by Istomin Last year.

  10. What absolute rubbish of an article. A journalist should be unbiased and he is just finding conspiracy theories to Federer’s success. A disgruntled Rafa/Djoker fan who has used the authority as a journalist to spurt a venomous campaign against roger federer and Australian open. They should sue the writer for defamation. Lets breakdown his thoery one by one. Clearly the writer is not a well versed in science (Neither is well versed in logic from what was written). Ever heard the deserts are cooler at night than day. Ofcourse they are and federer is not causing them lol. Heat absorbed during the day is released into the atmosphere by the ground during the night and the temperature drops. Simple common physics. So say the temperature at day on a sunny day is 40 and at night is 32. That is atmospheric temperature. So the ground loses heat as there is no sun to maintain it at 40. Also, heat transfers from a hot area to a cold area. So a sun induced heated ground will lose heat to a cooler night atmosphere. Now, imagine you close the roof during night time :). you are preventing heat from escaping in a closed environment. Resulting in hot and humid conditions. If the night temperature is high one can understand closing the roof but as you claimed that the temperature wasnt high when the roof was closed. So shouldnt be a 36 year old feel that heat and humidity more than cilic hmm?

    Also Federer’s outdoor win/loss is 80%…indoor is 82%. Hardly a gap worth talking about. You really think he went to the aussie open chiefs and said “oohhh look i have a 2 percent advantage please close the roof..really??? You know if i was one of the organisers what i would have said..hey fed roof will close it will get hot and humid and you will really get dehydrated BECAUSE IT IS NOT HOT OUTSIDE BUT IT WILL BE IF YOU CLOSE THE ROOF!!
    Also, he is playing at night becuase the organisers want tickets sold. People are working during the day so they put federer’s matches at night to maximize ticket sale…it has nothing to do with a conspiracy you retard

    • Oh my, the madness is endless. So all this science explanation to say that it is more humid with the roof closed? So are u saying they DARED to disadvantage Federer?? ahahhahh
      What about the fair treatment for both instead? They were both under the roof after all. But why Federer surprisingly decided to train Indoor before A GRAND SLAM FINAL not knowing that the roof would have been closed?

      So since you are good with science, I think you can understand the following: Is it true that the temperature/humidity presence or absence of winds can make a difference in a match? I think we can fairly assume it does.

      And do you know that the players adjust the strings according to these factors? I guess you are intelligent enough to know that too.
      Also, isn’t it true that the adjustment the body has to make from training in the open to training with a closed roof (whoever it might profit from it is irrelevant) is difficult?

      So, given these premises, and given that Federer said that he was told that the roof was closed just 20 minutes before the match… was Federer ( a veteran in the circuit who knows how important the aforementioned points are to start playing your best tennis) DRUNK OR HIGH ON DRUGS??? Why in the heavens did he decide to prepare his body for a grand slam final in a totally different environment than the one the match was supposed to be played?? Was he concerned that 1 hour practice outside in the humid air was going to ruin his hairstyle or make him weak or something?

      And why Cilic, even if given the option to play indoors, decided to play outdoors? No need to wander in here, he said it in the interview “I was getting ready for the hot weather, feeling the ball and getting my body used to these conditions.The sudden change of environment found me a bit off balance and wasn’t easy to adjust” (DUH?!)

      So, was Federer Drunk or maybe some birdie told him that the possibility of a closed roof was possible (wink wink)? Now, remove your Federer adorer blinds and answer this.

      WHY? If he didn’t know the roof was going to be closed, to the point that he said he was SURPRISED that it was closed at night, then why in the hell did he decide to train indoor and Cilic didn’t?

      IF YOU CAN’T SEE WHAT HAPPENED IN HERE, I REST MY CASE. People are completely blinded and i’m utterly disgusted by tennis at the moment.

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