Spain’s Rafael Nadal (L) performs a return to Switzerland’s Roger Federer (R) throughout their tennis match at The Match in Africa on the Cape Town Stadium, in Cape Town on February 7, 2020.
RODGER BOSCH / AFP
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal attracted what organisers mentioned was a world report crowd for a tennis match once they performed an exhibition occasion within the Cape Town Stadium on Friday.
The organisers mentioned an audited attendance of 51,954 beat the 42,517 who watched Federer play Alexander Zverev of Germany in Mexico City final November.
They additionally introduced that the ‘Match in Africa’ raised $3.5-million for the Roger Federer Foundation, which helps academic and athletic programmes for kids in Africa.
READ ALSO: Kenyan Athlete Wins 2020 Lagos Marathon
“To have 51,954 people in attendance at a tennis match, I never thought I’d be a part of something like that,” mentioned Federer. “It’s not something you dream about.
Federer, who was accompanied by his South African mother, Lynette, said his first appearance in South Africa was a special occasion.
“The first time here in Cape Town, in South Africa, means so much more than just tennis,” he mentioned.
Federer received 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a match through which the gamers needed to deal with cool, windy situations within the stadium that was constructed for the 2010 soccer World Cup.
The area was full of keen followers who sang, clapped and did the wave all through the match.
“It’s an amazing crowd, an amazing stadium,” mentioned Nadal, who was making his first look in South Africa since taking part in within the nation as a junior.
“It’s an unforgettable evening. We will probably never play again in an atmosphere such as this one,” mentioned Nadal. “I can’t thank enough the people here in Cape Town. They came here and created an unforgettable atmosphere.”
Earlier within the day, Federer and his doubles companion billionaire Bill Gates beat Nadal and South-African born comic Trevor Noah in a match with extra versatile guidelines.
The ceremonial coin toss was carried out by World Cup-winning Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi, who introduced Federer with a Springbok jersey. The coin used was a commemorative 20 Swiss Francs piece minted with Federer’s face. He gave it to Kolisi.
Other high-profile South African sports activities stars in attendance included former Springbok captains John Smit and Jean de Villiers in addition to Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling.
The match is the sixth version of the occasion organised by the Roger Federer Foundation and is the primary to happen in Africa.
“There’s so much anticipation that goes into it that the match itself almost gets forgotten,” mentioned Federer earlier than the match.
He mentioned he spent childhood holidays in South Africa.
“The time spent here as a kid was amazing,” Federer mentioned. “You would go on the road and you never come back for some reason because you’ve gotta chase that little tennis ball and you’ve gotta chase your dreams.”
Tens of hundreds of followers confirmed up early and had been ecstatic when Nadal and Federer hit follow balls into the stands.
One fan mentioned she introduced a marriage ring for Federer to suggest to her. “I want to marry Roger,” she shouted.
Earlier within the afternoon, Federer and Nadal performed tennis with kids from townships in Hout Bay.
The kids are a part of an afterschool exercise program with Zip Zap Circus which develops gross and fantastic motor abilities.