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Federer slams ITF over Olympic changes

ESPN staff
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Roger Federer says players were not consulted over the changes to Olympic qualifying criteria © Getty Images
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Roger Federer has spoken out against the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) decision to ramp up the Olympic qualifying criteria.

Under the current rules, a player must be available to play a Davis Cup or Fed Cup tie twice in an Olympic cycle, but ahead of the 2016 Games in Rio, that obligation will increase to four.

The world No. 3 will be approaching his 35th birthday when the Olympics begin in Brazil, and although the 16-time grand slam champion expects to be involved, he is not impressed with the amount of Davis Cup tennis he will have to play in order to qualify.

As the ATP Player Council president, Federer was furious when he was informed of the decision by ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti, claiming players were not consulted in the decision process.

"I disagree with this completely," Federer told The Times. "I was in the room [in Miami] when the ITF presented this to us, I was not asked about it before the decision was made. They might as well have just sent us a letter.

"The ITF makes it seem as if playing in the Davis Cup is the only place in tennis where you represent your country. That isn't right at all. They are forcing people to play, almost, and that is not a good vibe. Ricci Bitti knows where I stand on this and all the others at the ITF do as well.

"I will have to see what happens. I am focused on this year and I will make sure that whatever schedule I have for next year best suits me."

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