Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in record breaking exhibition Match in Africa

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Tennis legends, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal compete in front of 51,954 fans, in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo/Courtesy)
By :
AT Reporter

Every time Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play is a special occasion. But the Match in Africa 6, held on Friday in South Africa’s Cape Town Stadium to benefit children’s education in Africa, was particularly special.

Federer won the three-set contest 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

According to Sport24, Federer broke Nadal in the very first game of the match and from there it went on serve for the remainder of the set.

The Swiss ace looked comfortable on serve until the eighth game when he had to fend off a break point before holding for a 5-3 lead.

Nadal held serve for 5-4 but Federer comfortably served out the set to love in front of a boisterous crowd.

It went on serve for the remainder of the opening set, before Federer took it 6-4.

Nadal broke early in the second set for a 2-0 advantage, but Federer broke back straight away.

However, the Swiss could not consolidate the break and allowed the Spaniard to break again for a 3-1 lead in the next game.

Nadal would not relinquish the advantage again and took the set 6-3.

But Federer regrouped and broke at the start of the third set and from there he roared to the finish line.

Federer had to fend off a break point while serving for the match, but held his nerve and sealed the contest in style with a superb drop volley at the net.

Africa Tembelea understands that in the end, Federer’s serve made the difference – he served nine aces compared to Nadal’s solitary ace.

“It was such a privilege to be here tonight. Of course we want to try to play the best tennis we can, that’s what we’re world-famous for. It was an absolute pleasure to share the court with Rafa again, but the first time here in beautiful Cape Town in South Africa means so much more. It really is very, very special on so many levels,” Federer said on court after the match.

Adding: “This is so much more than just tennis. I really hope we can do it again. I hope Rafa can do it again one day, come back to this beautiful country. I’m so proud to have roots down here and thank you very much for coming everybody. It really is so, so special.”

On his part, Rafael Nadal couldn’t hide his joy, he said he was thrilled about the organization of the event.

“I just can say well-done to Roger and all his family, all his team, because the organisation of this event has been just fantastic. It has been a big pleasure for me to be part of it,” Nadal said.

Earlier, in the doubles curtain raiser, Federer teamed up with Microsoft co-founder, and philanthropist, Bill Gates, to defeat Nadal and South African comedian Trevor Noah 6-3 in a one-set shootout.

“The three people I played with I really admire,” Gates said. “Tennis is an incredible hobby. I encourage everybody to try it, so this was unforgettable.”

Noah, the leading figure on the court, throwing many jokes and chasing every ball while trying to keep his team in contention, was evidently excited to put on a show in his home country.

“To be in South Africa, my home, the country that lifted me into the world, to be playing with Bill Gates, a man who invented an operating system that changed my life and took me into the world, to be playing against two of the greatest tennis players in not just our lifetime but possibly all-time in one of the greatest cities in the world, is truly an experience I don’t even think I could fully comprehend and absorb right now,” Noah said.

“I think events like these remind South Africans what we’re capable of, it reminds me of the magic we can achieve. We come together when sports are being played and I think we need to keep this energy as a nation because this is where we need to move forward to.

“The three people I played with I really admire,” Gates said. “Tennis is an incredible hobby. I encourage everybody to try it, so this was unforgettable.”

Noah, was excited to put on a show in front of a record crowd in his home country.

“To be in South Africa, my home, the country that lifted me into the world, to be playing with Bill Gates, a man who invented an operating system that changed my life and took me into the world, to be playing against two of the greatest tennis players in not just our lifetime but possibly all-time in one of the greatest cities in the world, is truly an experience I don’t even think I could fully comprehend and absorb right now,” Noah said.

– Match in Africa –

As a curtain-raiser to the main event of the evening, fans were treated to a celebrity pro doubles match between Roger Federer/Bill Gates and Rafael Nadal/Trevor Noah.

Not only did the ‘Match in Africa’ exceed its target of raising $1 million for the Roger Federer Foundation by a whopping $3.5 million… it also set a new Guinness World Record by congregating 51,954 fans in attendance at a single tennis match.

This world record crowd for a tennis match, breaks the record set in November 2019 when Federer defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev in Mexico City in front of 42 517 fans. It was the sixth instalment of exhibition matches for Federer’s foundation that has todate raised over $52 million in support of educational and athletics programmes for children in Africa.

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