Roger weighs in as Serena shots intensify
Dominic Thiem has continued his criticism of Serena Williams, accusing her of having a "bad personality" after he was booted from a press conference room at the French Open to make way for the women's star.
Thiem booked his spot in the round of 16 with a four-sets win over Pablo Cuevas in Paris and was speaking to reporters in the main press room when Williams, wanting to get her media commitments over as quickly as possible after a shock loss to Sofia Kenin, stole his thunder.
The Austrian was asked to make way as Williams was given priority - and he was steaming.
"I don't really get it, seriously. I mean, what the hell? No, but it's a joke, really … I have to leave the room because she's coming?" Thiem said.
"What's my point of that? I have to leave the room because she's coming. Well I'll leave also then. I can also do whatever I want."
He later accused Williams of having a "bad personality" in an interview with EuroSport.
"I wasn't angry or frustrated. Maybe for a couple of minutes or so. It is just the principle," he said in German.
"It doesn't matter, if it is me who sits in there. I still made a wrong statement. I said that I am not a junior anymore. But even if a junior is in there, every player has to wait.
"It also shows a bad personality in my opinion. I am 100 percent sure (Roger) Federer or (Rafa) Nadal would never do something like that."
But Federer didn't share Thiem's anger and instead found the whole kerfuffle amusing, as he explained when talking to journalists after his 6-2 6-3 6-3 fourth-round win over Leonardo Mayer.
"I just think it was an unfortunate situation that I thought was funny and we joked about it just before," Federer said. "That's why I'm very much aware of what happened, and that's why we are laughing in the locker room about it now.
"But in the moment I'm sure I understand his, like, 'What is going on? It's a joke'. How he (Thiem) said it, it was great. I love his accent. In German too, by the way, not just in English. And he knows that."
Federer said the player still alive in the tournament - in this case Thiem - should get priority and believes the situation was one big misunderstanding.
"You know, I don't know what went wrong, but something went wrong for this to happen," Federer said. "I think there is, with all the players, always a way to go that, you know, the one who is still in the tournament gets priority. Anyway, that's how I see it.
"Now, there must have sure been a misunderstanding or maybe they should have kept Serena still in the locker room, not waiting here in the press centre. I don't know exactly what happened. I understand Dominic's frustration."
Williams hasn't commented on the furore. "Yesterday was not my day," she wrote on Instagram following her defeat to Kenin. "But it's about getting up time and time again after you fall. Here's to a multitude of tomorrows."
FEDERER YET TO DROP A SET
Federer won his only French Open in 2009 and remains on course for a semi-final showdown with Rafael Nadal, the defending champion at Roland Garros, after brushing Mayer aside in straight sets. The 37-year-old is now into a record-extending 54th grand slam quarter-final overall and he also became the third oldest man to reach the last eight at the French Open.
"Of course the hope was to go deep and I'm in the quarters now, so I'm very, very happy at this point," Federer said. "I served super well and Leonardo had trouble returning. I was able to put pressure on him and I'm very happy with my performance."
After dropping his serve to lose the second set, Mayer angrily swiped the ball away and was given a code violation warning for ball abuse.
Federer was looking so clinical and assured that the crowd at Philippe Chatrier groaned in disbelief when he missed an easy-looking forehand volley at the net, early in the third set.
It was the second time Federer has beaten Mayer at a grand slam - the other also coming in straight sets, in the first round of the US Open in 2015. That was also the last year Federer played at Roland Garros, before skipping the clay swing entirely until returning to the surface this year.
Earlier, Petra Martic followed up her win over second-seeded Karolina Pliskova by rallying past Kaia Kanepi 5-7 6-2 6-4 on centre court to reach her first grand slam quarter-final.
The 31st-seeded Croat next faces Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova, who reached her first quarter-final at a major without dropping a set. The 19-year-old Vondrousova beat 12th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 6-2 6-0 in just 59 minutes.
Also advancing to the last eight was 26th-seeded Briton Johanna Konta, who beat 23rd-seeded Donna Vekic 6-2 6-4. Konta's quarter-final opponent will be Sloane Stephens after the American defeated 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-3.