Tennis: Federer overwhelmed by fanatical support in China

Roger Federer of Switzerland acknowledges the crowd after his singles match against Andreas Seppi of Italy in the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. Federer said on Wednesday that he draws huge motivation f
Roger Federer of Switzerland acknowledges the crowd after his singles match against Andreas Seppi of Italy in the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on Wednesday, Oct 9, 2013. Federer said on Wednesday that he draws huge motivation from the fervent support he receives in China despite his slip from the pinnacle of the men's game. -- PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Roger Federer said Wednesday that he draws huge motivation from the fervent support he receives in China despite his slip from the pinnacle of the men's game.

The Swiss has formed a special bond with fans in Shanghai after regular visits to the city over more than a decade, and the fact that he is no longer world No. 1 barely seems to register.

"It was crazy in the practice today. I mean, I expected some people to be there, but not sort of hanging over the fence and holding up the banner 'I believe in you'," said Federer, who won his opening match at the Shanghai Masters on Wednesday.

"It was great energy, I must say. It gives me unbelievable motivation, inspires me to train hard, work hard, push further, you know, for that particular day, but also wanting to come back again next year, and again and again."