The Rolex Boutique and in particular the “Rolex Experience” on the historic Bund was the venue for the draw for the 2013 Shanghai Rolex Masters and it was an event that attracted some very special guests.
The man who all others are compared to in tennis, the great legend Rod Laver was in attendance. He was joined on stage by the very popular Jo Wilfried Tsonga and by China’s No.1 Zhang (George) Ze. Then, at the very end, just as the draw was completed, appearing in front of the Rolex Crown logo Roger Federer appeared through the shadows.
It was a moment greeted with gasps and applause as Federer made his way onto the stage to be greeted by the dignitaries.
Novak Djokovic starts his title defence with a first round bye as do the other top eight seeds – Rafa Nadal, who takes over as No.1 next week, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka.
Should the seedings hold up, the quarterfinal line-up would be Djokovic v Federer and Ferrer v Tsonga in the top half and then on the other side it would be Del Potro v Berdych and Wawrinka v Nadal.
The draw is evenly spread out with some fascinating early round encounters. Janko Tipsarevic takes on Marcel Granollers with the winner to meet Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt who was given a wild card plays Andreas Seppi and the winner takes on Federer. 12th seed Kei Nishikori meets flamboyant Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Bernard Tomic faces Jeremy Chardy, Kevin Anderson plays Victor Hanescu to take on Wawrinka and Nadal would be expecting to meet Alex Dolgopolov in the second round.
“It is always a tough draw here because it is always such a strong tournament being an ATP Masters 1000,” said Federer. “It’s a difficult first match for me. It would be great to play Lleyton, we go back a long way and I remember playing him in Shanghai when the first Masters Cup was here, he beat me in the semifinals and went on to win the tournament. We have had some amazing matches. Even if I play Seppi, that will also be tough because he is a very good player.
“I have been coming to Shanghai almost every year since 2002 and this is one of my favourite tournaments of the year and we look forward to a good week.”
Main draw play begins on Sunday 6th October with the finals on the afternoon of Sunday 13th October. The Shanghai Rolex Masters is the only ATP Masters 1000 event in Asia and is the biggest men’s event in this region.