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'Excited' Federer One Win From No. 1 Milestone

Shanghai, China

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer will play Stanislas Wawrinka for a spot in the Shanghai quarter-finals.

Roger Federer can guarantee he extends his reign at No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings to 300 weeks by winning his third-round match Thursday against countryman Stanislas Wawrinka at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

“I'm obviously excited,” said the top-seeded Swiss. “It's a big number, even though 299 or 300 doesn't make a big difference for me. It's obviously a big match for me. If you look back, there's many matches there was a lot on the line, so this is just another one. Obviously it's not a final, so I'm not going to go in super nervous about it. It's just more the difficulty also playing a good friend. That adds to the special occasion tomorrow.”

Federer made a strong start in his first Shanghai appearance since a runner-up finish to Andy Murray in 2010, defeating Chinese Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 7-5 in 80 minutes. Normally the fan favourite, he admitted he was a bit “caught off guard” that his opponent received more support in this particular match.

“I was trying to tell myself they were cheering for me very strongly, but I don't think it was the case (smiling),” said Federer. “It's okay… It was nice to see the Shanghai crowd get into it, be excited about the match, even if it was maybe more so for Lu. He played inspiring tennis at times. It was a good atmosphere and a nice match to play.”

He expressed that he had hoped to play Lu’s first-round opponent, Chinese No. 1 Zhang Ze, a quarter-finalist last week in Beijing. Federer, who had plans to practise with Zhang in Shanghai, said of the progress of Chinese players, “I'm not surprised to see some of them making their move, getting some decent wins now. That can inspire an entire generation, so it's good to see. I have the feeling that once the Chinese male players break through, there could be quite a few of them… Hopefully the next few months or years I'll play some of them. It would be nice. Something I'm looking forward to.”

The 31-year-old Swiss, who travelled to Shanghai without his family, also looked ahead to what life would be like once his daughters began school.

“Eventually it's just going to be the natural course of how it's going to go,” he said. “Maybe I have to then go by myself. Sometimes I can take them along. Sometimes you just don't go. You manage your schedule. It depends where you are in your life. Maybe I'm not playing anymore. They're only three, so I still have some time.

“It's going to be interesting to see how it's all going to play out. At the moment we're not thinking about it too much. We're going month by month and hopefully have a good schedule in place for not only the kids and Mirka, but also for myself, tennis, for practice, vacation. Everything needs to be well settled, well organised to make this work obviously. I think a lot about it to make it all happen because there is a lot on the plate for everyone.”

Federer shared that even without his wife and daughters in attendance, he had been busy with a number of promotional activities earlier in the week and was now focused on getting the job done on the court. “Now I play matches. Sleep in, play late. Sleep in, play late. That's sort of the schedule now. I don't have much time to get around anymore. It's now spending most time at the courts right now.”

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