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The Question Every Tennis Player Has Always Wanted To Ask Federer

At the conclusion to the Hopman Cup in Perth yesterday, runner-up Alexander Zverev cracked everyone up as he interrogated Roger Federer.

"Why Roger, why?"

It's the question virtually every male tennis player in the world has been asking for the best part of 20 years now.

When you think about it, the question could mean a lot of things.

It could mean "Roger, why are you so bloody good?" or "Why is the world so unfair and I had to be born while you were playing tennis?" or "Why are you still winning titles in your 21st year as a professional tennis player at 37 years of age?"

Or perhaps all of the above.

Whatever German tennis player Alexander Zverev meant with that particular question during his excellent runner-up speech at the Hopman Cup, we can be sure that he was speaking not just for himself but for an entire generation of male tennis players.

Yesterday, Federer and his Swiss compatriot Belinda Bencic beat Germans Zverev and Angelique Kerber in the final of the Hopman Cup -- the annual mixed-gender teams tournament which sadly may be in its final year.

As is always the case with this traditional Australian Open lead-up event, the tennis was conducted in light-hearted spirits. And the good vibes carried over to the presentation ceremony, in which Zverev was hilarious.

"Let us have one.... the Hopman Cup, man. Just once," he almost begged Federer, as the crowd roared with laughter.

For the record, Germany have actually won the Hopman Cup once. That was waaaaaay back in 1993 in the event's fifth year when all-time legend Steffi Graf teamed up with Wimbledon winner Michael Stich to beat Spain.

It's likely that Zverev knew that, and was in fact referring to the previous year's final, in which the same two teams met with the same result.

But like his "Why Roger, why?" question, it was a question for the ages.

How many other players down the years would have thought to themselves "Roger, just let me have one"?

Our educated guess is: loads. And long may it continue.

Contact the author: asharwood@networkten.com.au