Federer's slam dunk win earns Jordan approval

Cheered on by basketball legend Michael Jordan, Roger Federer became the first player to claim 50 match wins this season with a straight-sets victory in round one at the US Open Tuesday night. Federer enjoyed a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) win over Australian Marinko Matosevic to set up a second-round meeting with another Australian, big-serving 26-year-old Sam Groth.

Asked about Jordan's presence, Federer said: "I was so happy that he came into the world of tennis for a little bit and that he got to see me as the character in the whole show was pretty cool. I met him yesterday for the first time and it was a big deal for me; it’s been a special past 24 hours. We talked how I prepare, how much I play, where I go next; we exchanged ideas about our respective sports. That’s what you talk about.

"He was just my hero of all sports," said Federer, who will next meet another Australian Sam Groth.

"That's what he was for me growing up. "Besides Edberg and Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol.

"I just remember when I was younger; in Germany it was really big on the German TV stations. That's where I saw him doing all his moves. I wasn't necessarily a Chicago Bulls fan or anything like that. It's just I was into him, into the incredible athlete, just being that guy who was carrying basketball at the time. So I guess that's what inspired me."

Jordan sat in Federer’s box throughout the match, in which Federer debuted his new shoe, the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour AJ3, which looked somewhat like the Air Jordans sported by the former Chicago Bulls icon during his legendary career. Also cheering on Federer was hockey star Henrik Lundqvist, of the New York Rangers.

"About a year ago, I heard that Roger wanted to design and wear a Jordan shoe on the court," Jordan said, according to Style.com. "I have followed Roger's career and have been a big fan for some time now. I definitely thought this could be a really unique and special collaboration, and when I heard that Roger wanted the shoe to be modeled after the Air Jordan 3, I was in."

Asked what about Jordan inspired him, Federer said, "His longevity, the way he made it look easy, his will to win, wanting to be the best, delivering under pressure, being a superstar in a team sport, carrying his team for so many years. There's so many things that he did well and represented the game really nicely, I thought. That's why he also became my idol."

Now 23-1 in night matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Federer improved to 68-9 lifetime at Flushing Meadows, where he seeks an 18th Grand Slam title in his 60th consecutive appearance at the majors. The Swiss has won 19 of his past 21 matches dating back to his title run in Halle.

Federer seemed destined for a routine win serving at 4-3 in the third set, but Matosevic claimed his lone break in the eighth game and later had a mini-break in the tie-break before Federer closed out the match.

"It was a bit more difficult than I thought it was going to be in the third set. Marinko has a big game," said Federer.

Date: 27th August 2014, Source: ATP and Reuters


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