Federer hopes to meet Mandela

Tennis idol Roger Federer will travel to South Africa at the weekend, arriving in Johannesburg to inspect a project of his charity foundation and hopefully get a rare chance to meet Nelson Mandela.

Getting a meeting with South Africa’s revered former president is atop the Federer wish list as he travels to the homeland of his mother for a periodic visit to check on the work of the Roger Federer Foundation.

“I’m really hoping to be able to meet Nelson Mandela. We have been reaching out to him,” said the Swiss world number two after losing a quarter-final match yesterday at the Rotterdam World Tennis to France’s Julian Benneteau.

“It would be amazing and a dream come true. I only have a few days, but I want to visit one of the projects of the foundation. I’m looking forward to it since I haven’t been to South Africa in some time.”

The trip fits perfectly with Federer’s entry in the Dubai ATP event, where he will be defending his 2012 title starting Febuary 25.

Federer met in Rotterdam with his women’s squash counterpart, Malaysian Nicole David, a six-time world champion and key mover in the campaign to get her sport added to the Olympic lineup for 2020.

Federer gave his public support to that effort as he received a squash racquet during a brief presentation by David.

“I used to play squash with my dad a lot,” he said. “It would be amazing to get squash into the Olympics.”

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