This is not Roger Federer’s first trip to Madrid.
But he’s been treated like a conquering hero.
After arriving in Madrid and having his first practice on the Caja Magica court, the three-time champion (2006 over Gonzalez, 2009 over Nadal, and 2012 over Berdych – the “blue clay” year), Federer went on a tour.
And the No. 4 seed had a tour guide, Madrid mayor(ess?) Manuela Carmena.
That’s some elite company.
Carmena, who is 75 and a retired judge, came from a very modest background. She has been the mayor of Madrid since 2015 and joined the Spanish Communist party out of law school back in 1965. A serious feminist nicknamed the “Hugging Grandma” she’s considered pretty seriously left-wing. Here’s her Wikipedia bio. We stan her.
They went to the city hall, Palacio de Cibeles.
Federer is sporting an impressive tan for a guy who’s been doing his clay-court prep in the Swiss mountains.
This is Federer’s 12th trip to Madrid, but his first since 2015.
In fact, he hasn’t won a match there since beating the now-retired Radek Stepanek in his opening match at the 2013 edition – six years ago.
That year, he lost his opening match to a young Nick Kyrgios, 14-12 in the third-set tiebreak. In fact, all three sets were tiebreaks.
Kyrgios had just turned 20; it was their first-ever meeting. Federer won the next three. The first two of those also ended in third-set tiebreaks, with five of the six sets going the distance.