NEW YORK • Roger Federer reached a breaking point at the US Open on Friday.
It did not happen on court, where he played his best match of the tournament, blasting away Dan Evans of Britain just 80 minutes into a third-round tie in a noon start, the first on Friday's programme at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
What set the Swiss off and caused him to swear in a news conference, abandoning his usually impeccable decorum, was a suggestion that he is able to dictate the timing of his matches. The renowned night owl at Flushing Meadows said he could offer only his preferences to the schedule makers.
"But that doesn't mean 'Roger asks, Roger gets'," he said, then adding: "I have heard this s**t too often. I'm sick and tired of it, that I call the shots. The tournament and the TV stations do."
His minor outburst was part of the lingering fallout from a rainy Wednesday when many matches were postponed, except those played in the two arenas with roofs: Ashe and Louis Armstrong stadiums. That included Federer's match against Damir Dzumhur.
The 38-year-old, rested and sharp, cruised 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, with Evans still heavy-legged from his rain-delayed four-set match against Lucas Pouille on Thursday.
Evans, 29, was reluctant to blame Federer, whom he bonded with in Switzerland recently when he was invited to train with the 20-time Major champion for three days.
But he was not happy, explaining that he left the grounds at 6pm the previous day and was still tired.
"That wouldn't be the first time the higher-ranked player has had pull, so to speak," Evans said.
Last year, French player Julien Benneteau said that Federer has undue influence over scheduling, claiming that his representatives had demanded he not play in the Armstrong Stadium.
But US Open officials denied it and said they had always planned to have Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal play all their matches in Ashe, the premier stadium.
The daily schedule is made by tournament officials with input from the television networks, including ESPN at the US Open. Some of the top players are consulted.
Federer, who will play David Goffin of Belgium in the fourth round today, is not known to use expletives during his interviews.
He is usually couth, gracious and kind - owing to an incident in 2002 that changed his life altogether.
At 21, before he won his first Slam title, he showed great potential but his temperament was getting in the way of his performances. He often raised his voice and smashed rackets on court.
His coach Peter Carter realised his attitude was hindering him and taught him the importance of being polite and gracious in defeat. But Carter died in a car accident in 2002 and a devastated Federer decided then to become a respectable individual, first by working on overcoming his aggression.
He went on to win his first Slam at Wimbledon the following year, and the rest is history.
The frustrated Swiss added: "I'm still going to walk out even if they schedule me at 4 in the morning."
Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev said he was working to "do better next time" after his middle-finger gesture angered the crowd in his 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 third-round win over Feliciano Lopez.
The Russian fifth seed received a code violation for angrily snatching the towel from a ballperson, threw his racket and then covertly raised his middle finger next to his head as he began to walk.
"I was in the heat of the moment and started losing the momentum," said Medvedev, who was roundly booed by supporters after a fired-up post-match interview.
NYTIMES, ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE GUARDIAN
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