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Roger Federer shows off a 'sheikh' new look

January 3, 2006
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Given that he hails from Switzerland, tennis champ Roger Federer isn't the first thing you might associate with the exotic mystery of the Middle East. The legendary athlete showed a rather different side to his character when he jetted into the Persian Gulf state of Qatar earlier this week, however.

Dressed in traditional local dress of a thoub and kaffiyeh headdress, the 24-year-old looked more "sheikh" than "chic" when he turned out for a photo shoot in the sun-drenched capital of Doha. And the world number one's new look was completed by the presence of a dazzling white stallion and a majestic falcon.

Roger underwent the transformation to help promote the annual Qatar Open tournament, in which he and a roll-call of the sport's other top talents are slugging it out for $1 million in prize money. His decision to embrace the local culture obviously had the right effect, as he brushed aside the challenge of Czech opponent Ivo Minar in the first round of the competition.

"I'm happy with my performance," said the reigning champ afterwards. "My movements were good, considering the fact that it was the first match of the season. I wanted to do well right from the beginning."

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Photo: ©
The tennis ace took on the demeanor of a Persian prince when he swapped his shorts and singlet for an altogether more majestic lookPhoto: © AFP
Photo: ©
A horse and falcon helped add ambiance to the photo shoot. When time came to take to the court, the sportsman showed his own animal instincts by comfortably beating Czech challenger Ivo MinarPhoto: © AFP

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