Roger Federer cops backlash over message to Alan Jones

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Roger Federer sent a message of congratulations to Alan Jones. Image: Getty

Roger Federer has sparked an angry response from fans after sending a congratulatory message to Alan Jones after he announced his retirement.

Sydney's top radio broadcaster announced his retirement two weeks ago due to medical advice, with figures across the political divide paying tribute.

Jones, 79, made the announcement live on air during his 2GB breakfast radio program.

“I guess after 35 years the full stop has to go in somewhere,” Jones said.

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Among the many high-profile figures to send Jones messages of congratulations was tennis legend Federer.

Earlier this week Sky News played a video message from Federer to Jones.

“Alan, it’s Roger here. I wanted to wish you the best for what's to come and congratulations on an incredible 35-year career in the media,” Federer said in the video.

“Take care of yourself and all the best.”

Jones described the shout-out as “a delightful surprise”.

“I am very overwhelmed by the messages of support prior to my last day on the radio,” he said.

Fans slam Federer over Alan Jones message

However tennis fans and commentators couldn’t believe Federer had publicly offered his support for Jones after the shock jock’s many controversies over the years.

Jones outraged many with his vitriolic attacks on powerful women, including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Opera House chief executive Louise Herron and, most recently, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Advertisers fled the station after Jones suggested Scott Morrison “shove a sock down her (Ms Ardern's) throat” over her views on climate change in 2019.

ACMA recently announced that Jones’ comments breached decency standards and was made to issue an on-air correction after he made “inaccurate” claims on climate change.

ACMA said these included an incorrect assertion that biomass, a renewable, was a fossil fuel and the incorrect presentation of figures relating to Australia and New Zealand's percentage of energy use from solar and wind.

So Federer’s message to Jones sparked an angry response online.

Federer wasn’t the only high-profile athlete to send their well-wishes to Jones, with Usain Bolt also copping criticism.

“I just want to say congratulations on retiring at the top of your game,” Bolt said.

“30 odd years on the radio, you were magnificent, you impacted so many lives. Continue doing what you do.”

It’s unclear whether the athletes know about Jones and his chequered past or whether they were just responding to requests to send the messages.

Jones and Macquarie were also hit with a record defamation payout of $3.7 million to Queensland's Wagner family in September 2018.

He has struggled with health issues in recent years, including neck operations in 2017, back surgery and an E. coli infection.

He was again forced off the air in 2018 by painful back spasms.

with AAP