Roger: ‘Hello, Anybody Here?'
Swiss plays Coric Saturday for spot in Shanghai final
There aren't many firsts left for Roger Federer at 37 years old. But the Swiss is going through a first this week at the Rolex Shanghai Masters, where the top seed has his family with him for the first time.
“I think this year is obviously very different to previous years here in Shanghai because the family is here. Mirka hasn't been here for ten years. The kids obviously haven't been here before,” Federer said. “From that standpoint, it's like a completely different feel when I wake up in the morning that's happening, whereas in the past I have woken up and gone, ‘Hello, anybody here?' It's just quiet. I don't like that so much.”
What Federer does like is winning, and he’s done just that this week. While the World No. 2 was tested early, being pushed to three sets against both Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut, he broke the in-form Kei Nishikori — the US Open semi-finalist and last week’s Tokyo runner-up — three times on Friday en route to an impressive straight-sets victory.
“When you don't play as much, you really enjoy the tournaments that you do play, because every single one of them is a top priority,” said Federer, who faces Borna Coric on Saturday for a spot in the final. “But I still feel I'm able to play good tennis very quickly, and [it is the] same again this week. That's why I'm very relieved and happy that I have actually found a really nice level this week. So we'll see if it's going to continue tomorrow, but we have had a good time here in Shanghai.”
And, to be fair, Federer has always played well in Shanghai. Federer, who is pursuing his 99th tour-level triumph, is now 21-4 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, earning the title in 2014 and 2017. But having the rest of his family has made the experience even that much more comfortable.
“It's great to have the kiddies here. Hearing about their adventures here in Shanghai is super exciting. Personally, I have been very busy leading up to the event. And once the tournament gets going, it's far out from the city, so there is a lot of driving going on but also playing and sleeping,” Federer said. “But, no, it's definitely enjoyable to be on the Tour like this. It's a lot of organisation and a lot of communication with my wife and the team, how we can make it work the best for the kids and for us as parents.”
“They are having a blast while I'm working,” Federer said. “It's all good.”
One excursion Federer missed out on was a trip to Disneyland on Wednesday. Who can miss out on that?
“I was scared to go,” said Federer, smiling. “I'm scared of the rides.”
Whether Federer was kidding or not, the Swiss is simply happy to be enjoying the proverbial ride of the tournament with his family by his side. And he hopes that will translate to lifting his 28th Masters 1000 trophy on Sunday.