What did Roger Federer say at French Open 2021? Tennis ace rages at umpire in Roland Garros match vs Marin Cilic

Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and British player Cameron Norrie have all advanced at the tournament in France

Roger Federer was involved in a heated discussion with the umpire during his second round match against Marin Cilic at the French Open 2021.

The Swiss tennis ace is known for keeping his cool on the court but somewhat uncharacteristically got tangled up in a row with chair umpire Emmanuel Joseph.

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Federer's Roland Garros appearance is only his third tournament he has played since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi finals of the 2020 Australian Open.

Roger Federer of Switzerland argues with the umpire during his men's second round match against Marin Cilic of Croatia during day five of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 03, 2021 in Paris, France. (Pic: Getty Images)

The 20-time Grand Slam champion underwent two knee surgeries during that time in which new rules brought on by the Covid pandemic have been introduced.

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Why was Roger Federer angry at French Open?

Midway through the second set of his second round match with Cilic, Federer was handed a time violation for slowing down the pace of play when his opponent served.

Under tennis rules, the game is played at the server's pace but Cilic felt his opponent was taking too long to prepare for the return in between points during Thursday's match.

Cilic made his feelings known to the umpire who handed Federer a time violation, which the Swiss star wasn't happy with and sought clarification from Joseph and Cilic.

Federer, currently positioned eighth in the ATP world rankings, made the point that Cilic bounced the ball a lot before starting his action to serve in between points.

What did Roger Federer say at French Open?

During discussion at the net with Joseph, Federer turned to Cilic and asked his opponent directly: "Am I playing too slow?"

Cilic explained the service rule to which Federer responded sharply that he "understood the rule" to which Cilic replied: "On a few occasions I was waiting for you."

At this point Federer, getting visibly agitated, said: "I understand but I am going from one corner to the next trying to get my towel back - I'm not even doing it on purpose."

All players are expected to fetch their own towels on the court since the start of the Covid pandemic, rather than the responsibility falling on the ball boys.

What did Roger Federer say after the match?

Speaking in the customary post-match press conference, Federer joked with reporters: "I guess I'm just new to the new tour."

He went on to explain: "I just feel like it was a misunderstanding on many levels.

"I didn't feel like I was playing particularly slow, and with the towels, quite honestly, if I want to go to the towel, now I can't go to the towel anymore, it's okay, I get it.

"I understand playing to the server's pace, I have done it in hundreds of matches, and I always feel like I don't make my opponent wait very much, but clearly Marin wanted to go faster."

What was the result of the Federer vs Cilic match?

Federer won the first set 6-2 but was clearly rattled by the time violation penalty and lost the second set 2-6, with Cilic breaking the Swiss player's serve for a second time after the heated discussion.

Yet Federer showed his fighting spirit to clinch the third 7-6 and seal the three sets to one victory with a 6-2 win in the fourth to advance to the third round where he will face German Dominik Koepfer.

Elsewhere Brit Cameron Norrie has a third round match with Rafa Nadal of Spain and top seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia will play Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.