Roger Federer: The fans are the centre of everything
Roger Federer is set to appear at the Shanghai Masters later this year after being granted ‘Icon Athlete’ status by tournament chiefs. While the Swiss tennis legend will not be back in competitive action, his appearance in China should do wonders for the event, which returns to the ATP calendar after a lengthy absence.
The Shanghai Masters returns in October after a four-year break due to the Covid pandemic. Federer won the event twice in his career, most recently in 2017, when he defeated Rafael Nadal in the final.
On his special status, Federer explained: “I’m very excited to be named Rolex Shanghai Masters Icon Athlete for 2023. I remember coming to Shanghai for the first time for the opening of the stadium and I have been close friends with Juss Event and tournament organisers.
“I am happy to keep the story going and I look forward to seeing everyone in October.” Federer was forced to retire last September after persistent knee trouble, and he was given an emotional send-off at the Laver Cup.
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Considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Federer won 20 Grand Slams during an incredible career, which leaves him behind only ‘Big Three’ rivals Novak Djokovic and Nadal.
His presence in Shanghai should therefore stir up excitement ahead of the event, which will now take place over 12 days after the expansion to a 96-player draw, with action getting underway on October 4.
“Innovation is something we pride ourselves on at Juss Event and in Shanghai,” explained Tournament Director Michael Luevano. “The Rolex Shanghai Masters opened the door to the growth and development of world tennis in China, and we are very proud of our achievements.
“We are the first and only tournament in Asia to be staged over two weeks. It will provide players with more jobs, it will provide fans with more thrilling tennis from some of the most exciting and dynamic athletes in the world, and it will continue to be the spearhead for tennis in Asia.
“The new look Rolex Shanghai Masters, which has been developing over recent years, is ready to shine and ready to return, and host the world’s best tennis players. We will continue to be the benchmark for world tennis in Asia.”
Sports fans have been fortunate enough to see Federer pop up at various events in recent weeks, including the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday. The Swiss is also expected to appear at Wimbledon later this year.
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