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Fed Express hopes to get back on track in Basel

sports Updated: Oct 30, 2011 08:58 IST

AFP
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Tennis hero Roger Federer will hope to again steam through the field at his home Swiss Indoors starting on Monday after having a railway locomotive named in his honour.

Federer was honoured with his bigger-than-life-sized likeness on the loco, which will enter regular passenger service, with one of his sponsors donating to the player's charity based upon the number of kilometres the engine travels in service.

The 16-time grand slam champion. who has lifted the title at the St Jakobshalle four times in the last five editions, will play in Monday night's event curtain-raiser against Italian Potito Starace in the first round.

For an ATP 500 series, the Basel field boasts an all-star cast, with world number one Novak Djokovic returning to action after five weeks away with a back problem. The Serb won the Swiss title in 2009 as he beat Federer in the final with the Swiss reversing that outcome a year ago for the trophy.

Also playing on late wild card entry is world number three Andy Murray, who is planning to see if his red-hot form from three titles in Asia this month can translate to European success indoors.

The Scot takes the second seeding behind Djokovic, relegating Federer to third at home for the first time in recent memory.

Murray begins his first trip to Basel since 2005 with a first-round contest against Dutchman Robin Haase while Djokovic will test the back injury which has kept him off court for well over a month when he starts against Belgian Xavier Malisse.

Others in the Top 10 fill out the field, with Tomas Berdych and American Mardy Fish also entered. Number 14 Andy Roddick, a semi-finalist in 2003 and 2010, will also be in contention, playing again a decade after his first entry.

The Basel week will be another chance to determine the last three spots in the eight-man ATP World Tour Finals field, to be played November 20-27 in London.

Chasing a spot is provisional tenth-placed Serb Janko Tipsaravic, the sixth seed, who opens against German Florian Mayer.

Seeds:

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1)

Andy Murray (GBR x2)

Roger Federer (SUI x3)

Tomas Berdych (CZE x4)

Mardy Fish (USA x5)

Janko Tipsarevic (SRB x6)

Andy Roddick (USA x7)

Viktor Troicki (SRB x8)