INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Roger Federer has a reputation as one of the nicest pro athletes among his fellow tennis players and fans.
When Stan Wawrinka got emotional in his post-match comments to the crowd after losing the BNP Paribas Open final, Federer sat courtside laughing.
"I would like to congratulate Roger," Wawrinka said, glancing at his countryman and friend. "He's laughing. He's an asshole, but it's OK."
Wawrinka wiped his eyes and apologized to the crowd, explaining he was tired after the desert tournament ended Sunday.
Federer said he was only trying to cheer up Wawrinka.
"I was trying, when he looked at me, not to give him the sad face," he said. "I was looking at him going, 'You'll be fine,' and gave him a laugh, say, maybe gets his mind off it. I guess I achieved that."
Asked later if it was the first time in his life that he had been called the expletive, Federer said he'd heard it "many, many times before" in a joking way.
"That's why I take it as a compliment," he said, smiling.
"There's not always cameras around, so I get called that sometimes. Quite often, actually. On the court is the first time, but it felt good."