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Federer on Power to Inspire

Roger Federer has been around so long he's facing opponents who grew up idolizing him.

The 38-year-old Swiss said he appreciates the fact his stature in the sport empowers him to inspire others.

Watch: Iconic Laver Cup Moments

"I’m playing a lot of the guys who idolized me," Federer told the media in Shanghai. "So I guess I’m semi-aware of what’s going on, because I don’t walk through the streets or wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and go, Yeah, you’re a great guy. I think of myself as me and as a person, you know, and not a tennis player or whatever it is.

"But I’m aware that I have the chance and the power to motivate, inspire younger children, and set a good example. Yeah, I see that. That’s something I have always appreciated and thought was actually very nice."

The Rolex Shanghai Masters is Federer's first event since he helped Team Europe capture its third straight Laver Cup championship in Geneva. Federer said it's an almost immediate transition from teammate to rival.

"On the Laver Cup, I think for me it’s been also eye-opening that we actually can sort of press a switch and then go team, friends, partners, you name it, and then, bang, you see each other, everybody had a great time, and then next time you play each other, I want to beat you," Federer said.  "I like you, I respect you, but still, I’m going to beat you right now.

"So I’m happy that that balance is always going to be there, because I think the tennis player is a winner. He wants to win at all costs. You can do it tough and fair. You don’t have to cheat and stuff. But it’s nice to see, and also I think for the people that the rivalry will always remain regardless if we’re going to be on the same team."

Photo credit: Mike Frey/Rolex Shanghai Masters Facebook