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Federer shares wisdom on tennis, life for his kids

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Over the course of his celebrated career, Roger Federer has acquired wisdom on the tennis courts that translates to life lessons which he hopes his children can learn from.

A father of four, Federer has two sets of twins. The girls are 6 and the boys are just 18 months and everyone travels together for his job. Young Myla and Charlene have joined their mother, Mirka, in Federer’s box at matches, their heads buried in books, as their famous dad has expertly navigated his way into the second week of his 36th consecutive Grand Slam – one of his many records.

The No. 3-ranked Federer says it might be an untraditional family life with a lot of time on the road, but he wants to keep his loved ones close.

“We’re used to this life. It’s the only thing they know and I know really for the last 20 years,” said Federer.

He faces No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals on Tuesday and could face No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a semifinal that would be the latest installment in their long rivalry. Djokovic faces Kei Nishikori in another quarterfinal Tuesday.

During on-court interviews, the 34-year-old Federer has spoken of the pride he feels knowing that his girls are old enough now to have life-long memories of watching him play, and in post-match news conferences he has shared what he hopes they learn from him.

“I have had those conversations with them, that hard work brings you somewhere,” said the Swiss star who has won a record 17 Grand Slams.

“I told them the other day they can be anything they would want to be as long as they work hard at it,” he said, adding that he has no strong opinion whether his offspring inherit his passion for tennis, although he has started his daughters on lessons.

“I think they need to know whatever they choose, they have to work hard at it.”

“I told them after all these years, I still go out and train, trying to improve,” Federer said. “I think they see the benefit of hanging around with the same theme or subject for a while.”

Federer continues to set records all the time. In Australia, he became the first man to win 300 Grand Slam singles matches with his third-round win over Grigor Dimitrov.

To watch Federer play in Melbourne, whether you’re a fan or his children, is an unforgettable experience. His style and grace, his elegant one-handed backhand and his ability to craft shots that make the crowd gasp are enough to make you believe that age is irrelevant.

Federer joked that his children were now giving him tennis tips.

“They told me I should play on the lines. They think that’s a good thing. I was like, `OK, I’ll try that,”‘ he laughed. They came along to practice the other day at Melbourne Park and had a request that dad do a trick where he looks one way and hits the other.

“I said, OK, I’ll try that, too. It’s not as easy as you think it is but I’ll try,” Federer said, amused that the wisdom flows both ways. “They’ve give me advice, if you like. Yeah, they’re good coaches.”

Sharapova, Puig heading to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) Maria Sharapova and Monica Puig will head to Puerto Rico next week to help with recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria.

Sharapova, a five-time Grand Slam champion, and Puig, who won Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport at the Rio de Janeiro Games last summer, will go to the island Monday to distribute portable stoves, medicine and other supplies.

The agency that represents both players said Wednesday that Puig has raised more than $125,000 to help storm victims, while Sharapova is donating proceeds from her candy company for the rest of 2017.

The storm swept across Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, causing at least 48 deaths, according to the official tally. It caused widespread flooding and knocked out the entire power grid for the island of 3.4 million people.

 

Sharapova loses to Rybarikova at Kremlin Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Maria Sharapova was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, ending her bid for a second title in two weeks.

Sharapova, who won the Tianjin Open two days ago, brought her usual power but lacked accuracy with some wild swings on key points.

“I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days (in Tianjin). That was a big surprise,” Sharapova said. “Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been … Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.”

Sharapova was under pressure on serve from the start and saved six break points before finally being broken to 6-5. She responded by breaking Rybarikova, but Sharapova’s double fault at 4-3 in the tiebreaker handed the Slovakian the momentum to close out the set.

Rybarikova, seeded eighth, sealed the match after saving two break points to lead 5-4, then breaking Sharapova in the next game. Rybarikova will play Alize Cornet in the second round.

Six months after she returned from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova is still trying to move back up the rankings from her current position of 57th. Her first tour appearance in Moscow in a decade drew a large and enthusiastic crowd despite taking place on a Tuesday afternoon.

Also Tuesday, seventh-seeded Julia Goerges beat Russian qualifier Polina Monova 6-0, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

In the men’s Kremlin Cup tournament, sixth-seeded Damir Dzumhur defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.