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“Don’t F****** Tell Me Your Rules!”: When Roger Federer Abused Chair Umpire Who Told Him to Shut Up in US Open 2009 Final

Tanmay Roy

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Nobody who watches tennis disputes the fact that Roger Federer is the ultimate gentleman of the game. However, the Swiss legend hasn’t always maintained his temper during a tennis match. One brilliant example of that is the 2009 US Open final against Juan Martin del Potro. Right in the middle of the match, Federer lost his cool at the chair umpire.

It was a hard-fought 5-set final match between del Potro and Federer, which the Argentine won 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. He also denied a Fedal semi-final once. Midway into the match, when the score was 3-6, 7-6, 4-4, still very evenly poised, Federer got into a rift with the chair umpire for not being allowed to challenge a call. A clip from that moment of the match is going viral online, shared by Notmyfaulttennis on Instagram. Here’s what Federer had said.

Federer said, “I wasn’t allowed to challenge. I got 2 seconds and the guy takes like 10! You have any rule in there or what? Don’t show me your hands okay? Don’t tell me to be quiet, okay? When I want to talk, I talk! I don’t give a sh** what he said! I just said he waits too long. Don’t fu**ing tell me your rules! I was not allowed to challenge that…”


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Federer went to sit on his chair on the sidelines during a break of serve and yelled it out to the chair umpire. Since Federer was on ‘Advantage’, that point would’ve been very crucial if he was allowed to challenge, and could’ve been at 5-4. Instead, he went on to lose the set 4-6 from there.

As this video is going viral online after 15 years, fans are once again noticing the aggressive side of Federer. Many are divided in their opinion if Federer gets off too easy, often on the virtue of his good boy image. Others who are Federer die-hard fans believe that Federer was right to call out the chair umpire for his mistake.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic fans pick a fight once again

The context of Federer’s image in this article is something that has forever been associated with Novak Djokovic. Although not necessarily known as the ‘bad boy’ of tennis, Djokovic has clocked several controversies in his otherwise illustrious career. From constantly arguing with chair umpires to getting in verbal fights with spectators to openly disregarding rules and regulations (such as COVID-19 guidelines to vaccination), etc, Djokovic has experienced the full gamut.

But his loyal fanbase, courtesy of his monumental achievements, continues to support him. They support him so much that they are calling out Federer for being favored over his career. They say that Federer has had many such incidents of losing temper, but unlike Djokovic, he often gets off scot-free.

Roger Federer has also won numerous ATP fan favorite and sportsmanship awards. From 2003 to 2021 straight, Roger Federer has won the ATP Fan Favorite award. That is a whopping 19 consecutive wins without any break, which is unbelievable. That the fans love Federer isn’t news anymore, but the Swiss legend has also won the Sportsmanship Award 13 times. He won it straight from 2004 to 2017, every year except 2010 when Nadal won it. Roger Federer leads the chart on both of these awards lists.

Quite opposed to that, Novak Djokovic has never won either the Fan Favorite or the Sportsmanship Award. Djokovic fans have felt for long that Federer’s proactive PR often sweeps such unsavory moments and angry antics of Federer under the rug. Whereas if Djokovic loses his cool once, all hell breaks loose. They are trying to indicate that Djokovic deserves more credit and that the system is biased against him and for Federer. 

Post Edited By:Dhruv Rupani

About the author

Tanmay Roy

Tanmay Roy


Tanmay Roy is a Tennis Journalist at The SportsRush, whose lifelong passion and zeal for the sport landed him this position. A writer with over 1000 articles under him, Tanmay fell in love with tennis in 2005 when Roger Federer defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final after a stunning three sets. Tanmay followed the likes of the Big Three - Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal from the mid-noughties to now. His interest was stronger than ever after the wonderful 2009 Wimbledon Final which saw Roger Federer win after a see-saw 5-set match. His favorite female tennis player is Serena Williams and Monica Seles. Tanmay's favorite match-up to date is Roger Federer vs Andy Roddick in the 2000s. If possible, the John Isner vs Nicolas Mahut first round match at the 2010 Wimbledon is the only match Tanmay would love to watch Live by going back in time. Of late, he is a huge fan of Jannik Sinner and believes the youngster has the potential to break every record.

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