NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Federer got a kick out of the notion that Gael Monfils is looking forward to the day when he will be able to tell his children that he played against the 17-time major champion.
"Is that a good thing? I don't know," Federer said, sitting with his arms crossed and starting to laugh.
"Let's hope it's going to be memorable for everybody involved," Federer continued, "especially the unborn children."
He really cracked himself up with that line, leaning back in his chair and chortling.
In what shapes up as an intriguing matchup under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium, the second-seeded Federer faces the 20th-seeded Monfils in the quarterfinals Thursday night. It's one of only two singles matches on the schedule — but, given the players involved, could provide a day's worth of entertainment.
Monfils is as athletic and agile a player there is, and one prone to going for the highlight-reel shot instead of a safe one. Federer is, well, Federer.
"He's definitely the legend of the tennis," France's Monfils said. "I think right now he's the greatest tennis player we ever had, and for me it's always challenging to play against him."
Federer has won seven of their nine career meetings, including in the semifinals of the 2008 French Open, the only time Monfils reached that round at a major tournament.
Their past two matchups have been on hard courts, both went the full three sets, and each man won once — Monfils at Shanghai last season, and Federer at Mason, Ohio, last month.
"I think I can speak on behalf of so many players: We love watching him play," Federer said. "It's nice seeing him do well again."
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