Roger Federer feels great when coming to the Shanghai Masters. Next week the Swiss player will seek his fifth title there overall considering also the Masters Cup. Asked to make a comparison between 2002, when he made his first appearance in Shanghai, and now that he comes back as defending champion, Federer replied: 'A lot has changed since 2002.
I maybe had, I don't know, four titles. It's been an amazing run for me, with a lot of success, incredible streaks, a lot of fun, becoming somewhat of a national hero back home in Switzerland, which is a hard thing to do. Being here in 2002 obviously has been very different.
When you come back now, every time you play, you're one of the big favorites. In 2002, I was just happy to be part of the tournament. Only later did I realize the power and the potential, I had, and especially this country had, to embrace tennis and to see what they really wanted to achieve here in this part of the world, especially here in Shanghai where people seem so excited about this sport.
There's flags everywhere from the airport when you arrive till here, to the Qizhong Stadium. The excitement they have to come here, it's a lot of fun for the players. Have an incredibly strong fan base it seems here in China. That's why I loved playing at the Olympics in Beijing.
So I feel like I'm very connected to China.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title