Federer will team with Zhang at Shanghai Masters

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Former world No. 1 Roger Federer will play doubles with Zhang Ze, China's top-ranked men's player, next month at the Shanghai Masters.

Zhang, who lists Federer as his idol, said he was excited about the chance to play with the winner of 17 grand slam titles.

"I was surprised when first told about it," the 23-year-old Nanjing native said. "But I'm looking forward to it and will try to learn something from the matches."

Federer said these types of matches may help men's tennis develop further in China.

Zhang is ranked 182nd on the ATP Tour, the highest among Chinese players. He reached the semifinals of the ATP International Challenge in Shanghai last week.

He received a wild card into the Shanghai Masters, which begins on October 5, by virtue of being the best Chinese player in the Challenge tournament.

Federer has always been a favorite among tennis fans in Shanghai.

He and Zhang almost faced each other in last year's Masters event. However, with a second round clash on the cards, Zhang lost to Lu Yen-hsun of Chinese Taipei in the first round.

The ATP 1000 event will also feature world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, who just won his second US Open on Monday, and third-ranked Andy Murray. Ticket prices range from 160 yuan (US$26) to 1,580 yuan. The first day of the event is open to the public for free.

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