Federer advocates more tourney play in Africa
GENEVA (AP) - More top-level tennis tournaments in Africa would raise awareness of the continent's problems and help promote the sport, the top-ranked Roger Federer said Wednesday.
"I think maybe (there should be) more tournaments in Africa, if not exhibitions," Federer said. "There's one in Morocco. Maybe we can do some further south."
The Swiss tennis star, who won the U.S. Open earlier this month, is able to focus on humanitarian activities after recently signing with management agency IMG.
"What I wish from tennis is that the players unite more than try to do everything individually," Federer said.
"We play all around the world, which gives us a great opportunity to be everywhere."
Federer was speaking as an ambassador for the U.N. International Year of Sport at a press conference. The U.N. General Assembly designated 2005 as the year to encourage sport to promote education, health, development and peace.
Federer has set up a foundation in South Africa, where his mother is from, to help children receive a better education and two hot meals a day. He said tennis commitments that occupy him for 11 months a year prevent him from expanding into other countries.
"If I am there, it can sometimes have a very different impact," Federer said. "I can inspire people."
Adolf Ogi, special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a former president of Switzerland, said that sport could build bridges - like South Korea and Japan co-hosting the 2002 World Cup.
When the Pakistan cricket team toured India recently, the leaders of the two nations arranged a meeting, Ogi noted.
"Sport can test what is possible for the politician," Ogi said. "Sport is an instrument, an important instrument for a better world."