SHANGHAI — Roger Federer made a surprise appearance at the draw ceremony for the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Saturday, popping out on stage at the very end to the surprise and applause of the dignitaries in attendance.
The draw ceremony was already a star-studded affair, with the legendary Rod Laver joining Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and China’s No. 1, Zhang Ze. In a nice display of support for the tournament and Chinese tennis, Federer will be playing doubles with Zhang this week.
Federer hasn’t won the Shanghai Masters, but he won the ATP Masters Cup (now the World Tour Finals) in 2006 and 2007 when Shanghai hosted the event at Qizhong Stadium. Federer is seeded fifth this year and could face defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Awarded a first-round bye, Federer will play Lleyton Hewitt or Andreas Seppi in the second round.
“It is always a tough draw here because it is always such a strong tournament, being an ATP Masters 1000,” Federer said. “It’s a difficult first match for me. It would be great to play Lleyton. We go back a long way and I remember playing him in Shanghai when the first Masters Cup was here [in 2002], He beat me in the semifinals and went on to win the tournament. We have had some amazing matches. Even if I play Seppi, that will also be tough because he is a very good player.”
In addition to the draw ceremony, Federer also took part in a kids clinic at Qizhong Stadium and helped debut the court at the tournament’s opening ceremony. It was a busy day. Did we mention Rolex is one of his sponsors?
More photos from Federer’s whirlwind Saturday, starting with the Swiss and Laver:
(All photos provided by the Shanghai Rolex Masters)