Roger Federer calls the city his second home and the man fondly known as “Cow” in China had his fans in a froth on his return to the Shanghai Masters. Already hugely popular in China because of his easygoing personality and outstanding success, the Swiss legend had the crowd swooning once more following his victory on Wednesday.
“I’m a star,” he told his adoring supporters — known in China as “Milk Powder” — in the local dialect after defeating Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in his tournament opener. Federer’s “Cow” moniker stems from a Swiss tournament twice gifting him one of the animals. The first was Juliette in 2003 and then there was Desiree in 2013. Chinese also consider his personality — they see him as gentle and mellow — to be similar to that of a cow. Federer’s very passable attempt at Shanghainese — the on-court compere said he wanted to teach Federer a useful phrase — was the talk of Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Earlier in the week, Federer rode the city’s subway lines as part of the build up to the Shanghai Masters and chatted with other passengers. Dozens of fans were decked out in red T-shirts and held aloft matching signs reading “Welcome Back” as Federer defeated Schwartzman 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.