Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka play down their spat ahead of Davis Cup final after 10-minute row about Mirka 'heckle'

  • Roger Federer tweeted 'It's great being with the boys again' on Monday
  • Federer pulled out of the ATP Tour Finals final on Sunday
  • Winner Novak Djokovic was left to face Andy Murray in an exhibition
  • Federer argued with Stan Wawrinka backstage after their semi-final
  • The pair had a 10-minute row in a room which was being used as a gym
  • Wawrinka was angry about comments made by Federer's wife Mirka
  • The Swiss duo will represent their country in the Davis Cup final this week

Roger Federer has sought to play down his spat with Stanislas Wawrinka by tweeting a conciliatory message with his compatriot on Monday night.

Federer and Wawrinka had a 10-minute row on Saturday, after the World No 2's wife 'heckled' his opponent from the sidelines during their match.

But the Swiss stars, who will play together next weekend in the Davis Cup final, appeared to have settled their differences just 48 hours after the dispute.

The pair are in Lille ahead of the team event against France which begins on Friday, and could see Federer win the only major tennis trophy that has so far eluded him.

Federer, who arrived in France on a private jet after pulling out of the ATP Tour Finals final on Sunday, tweeted 'It's great being with the boys again', alongside a picture with Wawrinka and the rest of his Swiss team-mates.

And the Swiss No 2 tweeted the same picture just minutes later, in what looks like an attempt to smooth over the dispute.

Federer won Saturday's match 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 at the O2 in London, but his victory has been overshadowed by the fallout.

It is understood that one of the reasons the Swiss compatriots fell out at their ATP Tour Finals semi-final was because Federer's wife Mirka heckled Wawrinka.

Among Wawrinka's complaints is that she made audible comments from his supporters' box – which is at ground level – questioning in French whether he would have the guts to close the match.

According to several eyewitnesses, a vociferous argument developed between the pair in the backstage area.

Tour officials decided that the best thing was to push them alone into a private room that had been converted into a gym area, as there is no communal locker room at the arena.

While the dispute is not believed to have become physical, a heated 10-minute row ensued in which both aired their grievances against the other.

In what had been an unusually feisty and high quality semi-final, Wawrinka had four match points and served for the match at 5-4.

According to French television, Wawrinka was picked up saying: 'She did the same thing at Wimbledon.'

John McEnroe spoke of the dispute on American television, but he seemed unaware of the extent to which it has escalated, according to those Sportsmail has spoken to.

Another cause of tension in matches between the two is said to be the presence in Federer's box of Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi, who coaches the world No 2 along with Stefan Edberg.

Although doing his best to stay impartial in these encounters, it is not hard to see why Wawrinka might resent his team competition captain siding with his rival when it comes to their head-to-head combat.

Ultimately the Swiss No 2 was unable to finish the job off and was denied a place in the final of the prestigious year-end championships, with well-placed sources saying he was furious at the intervention of Mrs Federer.

While the undoubted row between the two men is a distraction, it was not the main cause of Federer pulling out of Sunday night's final, although the tension it caused is unlikely to have helped.

The Swiss master, drained by the physically and mentally exhausting match against Wawrinka, sustained a pull in his back and clearly did not wish to risk it ahead of the Davis Cup final.

Federer usually manages to avoid controversy and his wife says little in public, despite playing a major role in her 33 year-old husband's phenomenal career.

Those who know her speak of someone quietly formidable and determined who behind the scenes helps organise the incredibly busy life of her spouse, with whom she now has two sets of twins.

A former player herself, when she was known as Miroslava Vavrinec, she reached a career-high singles ranking of 76 and met the soon-to-be superstar at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. However, she had to retire from the sport with a persistent foot injury and has since channelled her energies into helping her husband become the global icon that he now is.

Aside from maintaining his fitness and training regime and having four young children, Federer also has a large portfolio of sponsorships and has his own personal charitable foundation that he attends to.

Mirka, who married him in 2009, is said to be a key component in making his life run like a Swiss clock to keep the success going.

She is also known to have steely side, and it seems that is what has led to the fallout with Wawrinka that could be a threat to Switzerland's Davis Cup dreams.