Fun-loving Roger Federer having a ball at 36

Switzerland’s Roger Federer makes a forehand return during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. (AP)
Updated 14 January 2018
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Fun-loving Roger Federer having a ball at 36

MELBOURNE: After two decades of high-intensity tennis, non-stop travel, and the commitments that come with being a sporting superstar, Roger Federer is still loving what he does.
The 36-year-old Swiss, who is gunning for a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, admitted Sunday he was enjoying it as much as ever, if not more.
This is despite saying the lead-up to the opening major of the year had been “intense” with feverish interest from sponsors and media in one of the world’s most marketable athletes.
On top of this, he said the off-season for him was now tougher than playing tournaments so he can get his body in good enough shape to stay at the level needed to be one of the top players in the world.
But he wouldn’t have it any other way as he enters the final years of a glittering career.
“I’ve always enjoyed it, you know. Do I enjoy it more now? It’s unfair if I say yes, because I felt like I loved the time when I was coming up and playing my heroes from TV,” he said.
“I mean, that was extremely cool. It was like a little boy in the candy store back in the day.
“When I was number one in the world, winning all these tournaments, that was a lot of fun, too. That was OK.”
He seems to be getting more out of it now than ever before, traveling with four children — two sets of twins — in tow and conscious perhaps that it will not go on forever.
“Now it’s different,” he admitted on the eve of his 72nd Grand Slam. “Now I have a big family. I have a lot of friends that travel the world with me.
“I get to see familiar faces again at all these events because I’ve made so many friends over the course of my career. I’m so happy to come back to Melbourne, see all my friends that live here in Melbourne.
“It just seems that it’s nice that it’s never actually gone away, the fun aspect of actually enjoying the travel, coming back to Australia.
“Yeah, it’s great times in my life and in my career that we can make it all work, that I can still play tennis. My wife (Mirka) is incredibly supportive.”
He added: “It’s definitely great times. Is it the best ever? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely a lot of fun right now.”


Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

Updated 3 min 29 sec ago
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Iranian fans attempt to disrupt Portugal’s sleep at hotel

  • Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based
  • Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent

SARANSK: Hundreds of Iranian fans spent several overnight hours surrounding the hotel where Portugal’s national team is based, making loud noises in an attempt to disrupt their opponents’ sleep before a decisive World Cup match later Monday.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was filmed by Portuguese TV RTP late at night by the window using gestures to ask the Iranian fans to be silent, but Monday morning there were still a few dozen of them playing loud music near the hotel in the Saransk city center.
Iran can only advance to the next stage of the World Cup if it beats the European champions. Portugal only needs a draw, but also aims to take the top position in Group B ahead of Spain.
Saransk police said they received their first calls about the noise about 11 p.m. Sunday, when a first wave of Iran fans arrived and started singing outside the hotel. That forced Ronaldo to show up, which convinced supporters to leave.
Then a second wave came and did not stop making noise for several hours. Police then blocked roads nearby, but the main avenue across the hotel was still open, which allowed Iran fans to keep their effort in smaller numbers.
Iran fan and IT consultant Mehdi Fayez arrived Monday morning after reading messages from supporters saying they needed to trouble Portugal to stand a better chance of winning the match.
“I love Ronaldo, I love Portugal, but this is a big game. We have to do all it takes,” a still joyful Fayez said, as he held an Iranian flag on the back of his head.
Montreh Fayoud, one of the several Iranian women that are attending their first World Cup, disagreed.
“We were coming back from dinner and saw all these Iranians here. When I found the reason, I decided to leave,” she said.
At about noon on Monday Portugal players had a quick walk around the hotel, but it is uncertain whether they will walk around the city as they did before other matches in Russia.