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Federer looks to set up African tournament
Updated: 2005-09-22 09:22

GENEVA, Sept 21 - World number one Roger Federer said on Wednesday he would consider helping to set up a tennis tournament in sub-Saharan Africa as part of his role as a United Nations ambassador for sport.

federer african tournamentFederer, this year's U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion and playing for Switzerland against Britain in the Davis Cup this weekend, told a news conference the project could be a product of his activities in the U.N. role.

"I plan to pursue the idea of promoting sport as a means of promoting peace and development," he said. "One idea could be a tennis tournament in sub-Saharan Africa. At present there is nothing much outside of Morocco."

Earlier this month, Federer was appointed spokesman for the U.N.'s current International Year for Sport and Physical Education, which wraps up in December but which officials say is likely to continue under another form.

The aim of the 2005 programme was to promote sport as a means for achieving the world body's Millennium development goals for drastically improving living standards in poorer countries by the year 2015.

Former Swiss president Adolf Ogi, special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on sport and the main force behind the programme, said it had helped bring governments to better recognition of sport for promoting health, education and peace.

Federer, whose mother is South African, did not say where an African tournament might be held. Officials said the idea was only at an early stage and it could take some years before it was set up.

Earlier this year, a bevy of leading international tennis players came together at Federer's initiative in a benefit tournament to raise funds for restoring sports, health and education facilities destroyed by the Asian tsunami of December 26, 2004.

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