Roger Federer may be the most accomplished tennis player ever, but he’s a fan of basketball in general, and the Knicks in specific.
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So it’s no shock that when he plays a March 5 exhibition against Andy Roddick in Madison Square Garden, he hopes to meet the man who’s re-energized the game: Jeremy Lin.
"I have [heard of him]. Actually I’ve heard a bit about [Linsanity],” Federer said on a teleconference from Dubai.
Federer will face Roddick in the nightcap of the BNP Paribas Showdown, Maria Sharapova will face Caroline Wozniacki in the earlier match.
"It’s quite an incredible story," Federer said. "I hope he can come to the exhibition. This is why, I think, we all follow sports, because of great stories like this when all of a sudden somebody breaks through that you didn’t know or didn’t expect to come along, to be able to help the Knicks come through.
"I love the New York Knicks. Having played in this arena, I wish the team well and I hope to meet him when I come to New York soon," the tennis star added.
It may be tough for Federer to meet Lin. The Knicks play at 1 p.m. in Boston the day before the showdown, and at 8:30 p.m. at defending NBA champion Dallas the night after.
Federer, who has won a record 16 Grand Slam titles, played Pete Sampras in the Garden in 2008; and said he still fondly recalls the electricity in the building that day. He hopes playing another accomplished American, in the form of Roddick, will induce the same sort of atmosphere.
"Playing Pete at the Garden was a great moment for me," he said. "It’s something Pete really wanted to get done. We couldn’t believe the stadium sold out so quickly and there was such a buzz in the city.
"I’m really looking forward to it, playing in America. Roddick has been a great friend of mine, a great rival. I’m sure it’ll be another great night for tennis.”