Even in retirement, Roger Federer’s reputation in China reveals no signal of waning.
The former World No. 1 and 103-time tour-level titlist was honoured Friday on the Rolex Shanghai Masters, the place Chinese followers had the prospect to pay tribute to the Swiss nice for the primary time since his retirement in September 2022.
Federer was introduced with an Icon Athlete Award in a ceremony that additionally featured dwelling WTA legend Li Na and the No. 1 Chinese participant within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Zhang Zhizhen.
“It’s been nice to see tennis develop in China. One icon is standing right here and a future famous person within the making there,” stated Federer of Li and Zhang, the latter of whom this 12 months grew to become the primary dwelling participant to succeed in the fourth spherical at Shanghai’s Masters 1000 occasion.
Zhang Zhizhen, Roger Federer and Li Na on Friday in Shanghai. Photo Credit: Wang Zhao/AFP through Getty Images
As effectively as taking selfies with excited followers from the center of the courtroom, Federer additionally took to the microphone to debate his delight at returning to an occasion the place he racked up a 23-6 report and gained the title in 2014 and 2017.
Federer beat his nice rival Rafael Nadal within the championship match to say the second of his Shanghai crowns, the third time the pair had clashed within the Chinese metropolis. Federer additionally overcame the Spaniard on the 2006 and 2007 editions of the Nitto ATP Finals, then held in Shanghai and referred to as the Tennis Masters Cup. Federer went on to win the season-ending occasion in each years.
“I performed Rafa on so many events, not in each match I performed however virtually in all the large matches all over the world and I’m pleased we might do it right here, not simply as soon as however thrice,” mirrored Federer when requested about his 6-4, 6-3 closing win in 2017. “It’s much more particular if it’s in a closing. I believed I performed extraordinarily effectively in that match… I performed a unbelievable match and a unbelievable 12 months after I got here again [after] my knee downside.
“For me it was a dream 12 months and I imagine it was the final time I gained the Rolex Shanghai Masters, so in fact it is ceaselessly particular. It was a terrific week, and I liked the battles I had with Rafa. I’m pleased I gained the ultimate right here that 12 months.”
Federer’s reputation in China was demonstrated early in his profession when he was given the honour of opening the Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, dwelling to the Shanghai occasion, in 2005. He famously additionally stunned a bunch of Shanghai commuters in 2017, when he hopped onto a Metro practice to journey to the Masters 1000 occasion.
“Ever since I showed up here as a teenager in 2002, maybe I even had a ponytail, I looked different, I played different, but I got so many fans, I feel like, from the first moment I came,” stated Federer. “I feel like I got the most incredible support here in Shanghai and in China. I’ve been very fortunate to play here for so many years.”
Federer rides the Shanghai Metro in 2017. Photo Credit: Mike Frey/Shanghai Rolex Masters
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