HALLE (Germany) - Quiet please. Swiss tennis great Roger Federer did not utter those exact words but his one-time idol Boris Becker would have gotten the message.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion has hit back at Becker's comments about his relationship with Novak Djokovic, insisting the German was not in a position to make any claims even though he coaches the Serb.
In excerpts of Becker's new book Wimbledon: My Life And Career At The All England Club by the Daily Telegraph, he wrote it is an "open secret" that the world's top two players do not like each other and Federer "cannot possibly be as nice as he seems".
"I find such comments unnecessary," Federer told Swiss newspaper Berner Zeitung. "He cannot know whether I have a problem with Novak. It's true at the beginning I didn't like his (behaviour) on the court but today he behaves wonderfully and is extremely fair.
"We don't spend a lot of time together. Our best friends are other people. But when we meet, we are relaxed and talk as normal."
The former world No. 1 also rubbished Becker's suggestion that he does not reveal his true feelings to protect his clean image for endorsement purposes.
"Becker has no clue," Federer said. "He should actually know me well enough to know that I'm a relaxed guy. I'm friendly and polite to people, with no need to change my behaviour."
Federer indicated that he took notice of the three-time Wimbledon champion's comments because he used to idolise Becker.
"I didn't like hearing what he told," he said. "He was one of my idols. But I also don't know exactly what he said, especially since on Twitter he (contradicted) half of it."
Becker had taken to Twitter last week to say that he was misquoted and that his book would provide the context to his thoughts.
"After reading multiple lies/misquotes in the media about my opinion of (Federer) let me tell you all: I have the utmost respect," the six-time Grand Slam champion tweeted. "For him as a player/man/legend of our sport!!! In fact I like to call us friends..."
Federer, who faced German Florian Mayer in the quarter-finals at the Halle Open yesterday, did not discount the possibility of a misunderstanding and accepted that "books are there to be sold".
"Maybe it's a big misunderstanding," he told USA Today. "Maybe it's something he truly feels is the case. All I know is that I was brought up to be polite and to respect everybody. I feel like it's important to be a role model for kids. If that's a problem, I'm sorry."
ATP Halle Open: S-finals
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