Roger Federer was in a jolly mood after winning his first match since the US Open on Wednesday at the Shanghai Masters. And why not be happy with himself? He trounced big John Isner 6-3, 6-4 in full-flight Mighty Fed style:
Love the new threads, by the way.
Roger pondered the greatness of his signature shot after the match (via tournament website):
“I’m hitting that shot (the tweener) so well now, it’s almost the most consistent shot in tennis these days. I’ve attempted it like four times in the last few years, every time I made it and won the point off it.”
Like me, Federer loves the crowd reactions in Shanghai. (At least when there are crowds in the Shanghai stadium.) The cheers are less “Whoo Hoo!” and more “WAHOOOOOOOOOOW!” It’s a fantastic sound of surprise and wonder.
Roger’s been keeping busy since arriving in Shanghai without his family in tow – visiting the Expo, training, and learning Mandarin.
Q. Off topic. It’s said you might be learning Mandarin. Is this true? Taking a few Mandarin lessons?
ROGER FEDERER: Not a few. One so far. We’re going slow. Little by little. It’s not an easy language. I don’t know if you have had any lessons.
ROGER FEDERER: It’s hard, you know, but maybe I’ll pick up a few sentences here and there.
Q. What might be the reason for this?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I have some time. My wife and kids are not here. I thought it would be fun. We did it together with the team. So I thought to change it up a bit of just having a regular routine. I like languages in general. I speak Swiss German, German, French and English fluently. I thought a bit Mandarin, which I’ll never speak anyway, would just be a fun hour for me to learn some.
Q. This was a private lesson?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it was a private lesson with the team who is here. They gave up after 10 minutes, and I was the guy who was saying the words and sentences. I was the guy who was really learning, not them.
Wow, I’m really impressed by Roger’s noble efforts at self-improvement, now that he doesn’t have to change diapers between practice and pressers. Of course, he must know Mirka’s reading this. Perhaps he’s fitting in some XBox on the sly?
Speaking of family, Roger’s sister Diana just gave birth to her own set of twins – a boy and a girl.
Q. Looks like your family has a tradition of having twins. I begin to think you and your sister are twins at the beginning.
ROGER FEDERER: Me and her, no. Maybe I have a twin brother. He won six slams and I won eight slams. I did half of the things and he did the other half.
No, it’s great. I’m very happy for her. It’s a wonderful thing to have twins. I wish her only all the best. I spoke to her today. She seems she’s coping really well with it. She got a boy and a girl. I got two identical girls. We’re looking forward to reuniting. I haven’t seen them yet. I’m sure when I come back to Basel, I’m sure I’m going to see them.
Hmmm. . .so let’s stick with the twin who played on Wednesday, okay, Roger? The other one can keep busy with the Mandarin and video games.
In non-Roger news, Rafael Nadal soundly beat Stan Wawrinka, 6-4, 6-4, Novak Djokovic advanced in straights over Ivan Ljubicic, and Andy Murray lost only four games vs. Chinese wild card Bai Yan. Andy Roddick retired with a groin injury and is hoping to return to competition when the Basel tournament starts at the end of the month.
For those on Grand Slam watch, Rafa’s trying to keep your expectations low: “The Grand Slam: for me, that is impossible. I will try to keep playing well and to try to win four titles next year. But the Grand Slam is not the case. That’s for sure impossible, I think.” (via RafaelNadal.com)
My fave quote of the tournament so far comes from the curled lips of Andy Murray. I don’t care if the humor is unintentional or sly:
Q. Is there any other very impressive present that Chinese fans give you?
ANDY MURRAY: The night I arrived here I got given a pen that was made like chopsticks that had some sushi on the end of it, which was a first. It was different. But I like sushi. I just don’t write that much.
And I write too much! Over and out. . .see you on the other side of Fed vs. Seppi.