Federer will team with Zhang for doubles at Shanghai Masters

Former world No. 1 Roger Federer will play doubles with Zhang Ze, China’s top-ranked men’s player, next month at the Shanghai Masters.

Zhang, who lists Federer as his idol, said he was excited about the chance to play with the winner of 17 grand slam titles.

“Thanks to him for this oppertunity. I was surprised when first told about it,” the 23-year-old Nanjing native said. “But I’m looking forward to it and will try to learn something from the matches.”

“I know I am going to be quite nervous to be the doubles partner of Roger,” said Zhang. “He is such a big name all over the world and has achieved so much success, he is very, very popular in China and I see this as a big chance for me to get very good experience. I am very excited and I think my whole family will come and see the match.”

Federer said these types of matches may help men’s tennis develop further in China.

Zhang is ranked 182nd on the ATP Tour, the highest among Chinese players. He reached the semifinals of the ATP International Challenge in Shanghai last week.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Zhang and we are truly delighted that Roger agreed to play with him,” said Michael Luevano. “The atmosphere will be quite special at Qi Zhong and will definitely prove to be a lot of fun for the fans and I am quite sure the two players as well.

“We know that Roger does not play a lot of doubles through the year so having him take to the doubles court in Shanghai is a wonderful addition to what is already shaping up to be a fantastic week of tennis.

“I have talked with Roger and Tony Godsick his manager, for a few years about playing doubles in Shanghai, it is just amazing that Roger has chosen to play with a Chinese player. It is a great testament to his affection with China and his Chinese fans, he really could have played with anyone.”

He received a wild card into the Shanghai Masters, which begins on October 5, by virtue of being the best Chinese player in the Challenge tournament.

Federer has always been a favorite among tennis fans in Shanghai.

He and Zhang almost faced each other in last year’s Masters event. However, with a second round clash on the cards, Zhang lost to Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei in the first round.

Ticket prices range from 160 yuan (US$26) to 1,580 yuan. The first day of the event is open to the public for free.

Date: 12th September 2013, Source: Shanghai Daily


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