AP Photos/Francisco Seco via Daylife.com
Roger Federer is in Portugal this week playing in the Estoril Open, a combined ATP 250 tournament and a WTA International level. It’s a small event – perhaps best known for Dmitry Tursunov’s sunny blog postings from 2006 (God, it was that long ago?) This year Ivan Ljubicic is the No. 2 seed and Agnes Szavay (who already lost her first match) and Sorana Cirstea are the top seeds on the women’s side. The tournament achieved record attendance of 53,888 spectators in 2008, when Roger beat Nikolay Davydenko in the final.
So Roger’s basically an orca in a sake cup. The headline of this article on the tournament website: Pandemonium as Fans Flock to see Federer
The World No. 1 was escorted to the court by four security guards and his coach Severin Luthi through 200 excited fans along a gravel path to the court, before training with Portuguese No. 1 Rui Machado in windy conditions.
“Since I had practised with Roger before, two years ago here, this time I wasn’t caught off-guard by his demanding style,” said World No. 114 Machado. “We practised around 80 minutes, we didn’t do anything too specific, it was just a normal pre-tournament practice. Conditions were tough, it was really windy.”
Roger’s really very popular in Portugal it seems – via a press release: “Roger Federer’s first singles match is to be broadcast in 3D on Wednesday, in what will be a historic day for Portuguese television and tennis broadcasting.” It will be the first time a national event is shown live in 3D in Portugal.
I’m assuming that Roger’s second round opponent – either Bjorn Phau or Marc Lopez (a.k.a. Rafa’s doubles partner) will also be jumping into Lisbon living rooms. The semis and final will be broadcast in three dimensions, too.
Federer and his flock:
AP Photos/Francisco Seco via Daylife
Wait a few seconds and you’ll see an interview with a Federer fan boy on this Estoril promo video. He’s the cheerful, childish kind of Fedophile who doesn’t believe in jinxes or waste time worrying about Roger’s slow but inevitable decline. Go fan boy!
My favorite Federer quote from the ESPN Magazine’s recent cover feature on Roger Federer, from an interview done at Indian Wells this year:
“I think it’s a pity he (Rafael Nadal) gave up his pirate pants and the sleeveless. I thought our styles were colliding even more then. I kind of miss it.“
And some more words of wisdom from Roger – this time on his perceived arrogance:
“(W)hen I got to No. 1, I realized being only humble and always pretending everybody else is the favorite sounds odd, you know? When I am No. 1 in the world and I say, ‘It’s a miracle’ if I win, who is going to accept that?”
We won’t be getting Roger in 3D, or even live, but if he makes it to the semis he’ll be shown here in the States on Tennis Channel tape delay. Click here for the Estoril Open TV Schedule and here for Estoril Open live streaming options.