x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Federer to double up with China’s Zhang at Shanghai tennis masters

Zhang, known as 'Big George', nervous about teaming up with 'big name in world tennis'.

Roger Federer, the former world No 1, has slipped in the singles ranking in recent times. Axel Heimken / EPA
Roger Federer, the former world No 1, has slipped in the singles ranking in recent times. Axel Heimken / EPA

Roger Federer, the former world No 1, will make a rare appearance on the doubles court when he teams up with Zhang Ze, the Chinese No 1, at the Shanghai Masters, organisers said.

Federer, with a record 17 grand slam singles titles and now striving to stay at the top of the game, has played doubles only once this year although he won the Olympic title in 2008.

“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,” tournament director Michael Luevano said in a news release.

“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.”

The 23-year-old Zhang, nicknamed “Big George”, is China’s highest-ranked singles player at 180 – compared to Federer’s world No 6 – with a doubles rating of 334.

“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.”

The October 6-13 Shanghai Masters is shaping up as an important week for Federer, 32, as he bids to stay inside the world’s top eight and reach the end-of-year ATP World Tour Finals in London.

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