Federer eyes Shanghai Rolex Masters title

Roger Fededer has his set sights on the Shanghai Rolex Masters title, saying that for him the local tournament was always “a priority”.
Reuters

Second-ranked Roger Federer takes questions during a press conference at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District on October 9, 2017. The Swiss veteran plays his first match at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on October 11, 2017.

Roger Federer has set his sights on the Shanghai Rolex Masters title, saying that for him the local tournament was always “a priority”.

“It’s definitely one of the goals of the season for me here, this tournament,” the world No. 2 said at a press conference at Minhang's Qizhong Tennis Center on Monday. “I always make it as a priority that I will be in good shape for Shanghai. I’m happy I’m here and happy I’m healthy.”

Easily the most popular player among Shanghai tennis fans, the Swiss arrived in the city as early as last Thursday, though his first match (in the second round) was scheduled for Wednesday (October 11).

“I have arrived as early as ever here in Shanghai for the tournament, and have been practicing for hours on center court. Have been kept busy which gets me into the right mindset, because I’m here for a reason — trying to do well, hopefully winning the tournament.”

Federer was seen taking a ride on the local metro line at Madang Road Station on Monday morning, photos of which have been widely circulated on social media platforms.

“The metro experience was a great one. I grew up on public transport when I was younger in Switzerland,” he said. “I have been coming here for so long. I almost consider it my second home, because I opened the stadium here, and I just feel very welcome here. It’s nice to experience the way people here experience it.”

The 19-time Grand Slam winner also had some advice for Chinese players, especially teenage sensation and US Open junior title winner Wu Yibing, who lost to Frenchman Gilles Simon in his debut Shanghai Rolex Masters match on Sunday.

“It’s definitely a great starting point. For him, to play in a tournament like this and starting to play against the best, that’s what I did in 1998, as well. It’s a different energy you need, a difference experience.

“It’s about improving every single day. I think at this age you see things that other players are doing on the court, off the court, and you can observe and learn.

“And then just understanding where is your game best at. Is it indoors, hardcourts, claycourts, grass, is it in Europe, in Asia? Finding out where does one play his best takes a few years. Everything goes faster if you have the right team around you,” the Swiss added.

It’s the first time that Rafael Nadal and Federer have entered the Shanghai tournament as the top two seeds, potentially setting up a final clash if both make it that far in Asia’s only ATP 1000 tournament. The Spaniard was just crowned champion at the China Open in Beijing on Sunday, beating Australian Nick Kyrgios in the final.

“It’s nice to see him keep going,” Federer said, alluding to his arch-rival and friend. “Whatever Rafa is doing, it doesn’t change my schedule. But I know that if I want to finish as world No. 1, I’ve got to win here and at the World Tour Finals (in London) and in Paris and Basel. It becomes more and more unlikely, which is totally fine, because I never entered this season with the goal of being world No. 1.”

“I’m mostly playing only the big tournaments now, so you need to be in really tip-top shape and ready to go, and it’s just not so simple. I couldn’t be happier with the season to be quite honest,” said Federer.

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