Federer reduced to tears on visit to Ethiopia

Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:04pm EST
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By Barry Malone

KORE ROBA, Ethiopia (Reuters) - World number one Roger Federer sends the ball spinning into the net.

His opponent, Ethiopian teenager, Jirata Demksa, smiles and prays the Swiss is having an off day.

But Federer just pauses and, taking a deep breath, serves a blistering ace.

The 17-year-old, realizing he's beaten, simply shrugs.

"He's the best tennis player ever," he says. "I am just lucky we played ping-pong."

Jirata says he will never forget taking two points from Federer in an impromptu game of table tennis at a school the tennis ace funds in the poor country.

For Federer, this week's visit to Ethiopia was one that moved him to tears.

"When I arrived at the school and all of the children were singing, it was very emotional," Federer told Reuters.   Continued...

<p>Tennis player Roger Federer of Switzerland chats with a student at a school, funded by his charity, the Roger Federer Foundation, in Kore Roba February 12, 2010. Federer was in Ethiopia for a one-day visit to see the work his charity does. REUTERS/Roger Federer Foundation/Marcel Grubenmann/Handout</p>