Five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer surprised New Yorkers by spending some practice time in Central Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Less than 24 hours after Federer defeated American teenager Frances Tiafoe in five sets, Sports Illustrated executive editor and senior writer Jon Wertheim received the following photo from a reader:
It seems as though Federer did not make the trip out to Flushing Meadows on Wednesday for practice, instead choosing to have a light session on the courts in Central Park. But are the courts the same speed as the courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center?
A USTA rep couldn't confirm the condition of the surface but did say that Federer called early on Wednesday morning to arrange a hitting session closer to his hotel in Manhattan. With the help of former ATP pro Eric Butorac and some extra security, Federer's unconventional practice session came to life at the Central Park tennis courts. It all made for an awesome experience for New Yorkers on Wednesday.
Federer later posted his own photo to explain his day.
Federer will now play Russia's Mikhail Youzhny on Thursday. Federer made his return to the U.S. Open for the first time in two years after a knee injury sidelined him from last year's tournament.