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Nadal and Federer break records when playing in South Africa in front of 52,000 spectators

Nadal and Federer break records when playing in South Africa in front of 52,000 spectators
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal broke the record for the tennis match with the most public in history on Friday, in a solidarity meeting in Cape Town (South Africa) in front of 51,954 spectators in which they also shared the track with the tycoon Bill Gates and the comedian Trevor Noah

The clash, dubbed “The Match in Africa”, was organized by the Roger Federer Foundation with the goal set, apart from smashing the record, to raise more than a million dollars for its educational projects in southern Africa.

That target was also beaten and the funds raised reached $ 3.5 million.

“For me it is a real pleasure and an honor to be part of this special night, in the end a historical record has been achieved within our sport and it has also been achieved for a very good cause,” Nadal explained during the press conference that He featured alongside Federer after the match.

“To have been able to play a game of this caliber in this part of the world because I think it is a positive message, that good news comes from Africa,” added the Spanish athlete.

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For Federer the occasion was “magical”, as he had explained to Efe during the warm-up session, since his mother is South African and in the country he has not only family, but also great childhood memories.

For that reason, it was precisely Lynette Federer who was in charge of tossing the coin to decide who began serving in the first duel of the night: a humorous doubles set in which Trevor Noah and Bill Gates surprised the public with their good skills with the racket.

Federer and Gates claimed victory by 6 games to 3, but Noah and Nadal won over the public with their rapport to make jokes.

“Someone turn off the air conditioning,” the Daily Show host joked in the middle of the game when the wind picked up.

The event was also enlivened by the Ndlovu Youth Choir, which in the breaks set the stadium vibrating with its spectacular African-flavored versions of various great international hits.

But the highlight of the night came, of course, at the end, with the individual confrontation between Nadal and Federer.

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The person in charge of sorting out who started the game was also another very special guest, the captain of the South African rugby team, Siya Kolisi, who also presented Federer with a green Springboks jersey while the stadium exploded in ovations.

The result tonight was, of course, the least, but the Swiss scored the victory 6-4, 3-6 and 6-3.

This was the first time that Nadal and Federer, two historic rivals who have become friends over the years, had met in sub-Saharan Africa and in response, the Cape Town crowd did not disappoint, filling the stands of one of the venues that hosted the 2010 World Cup matches, the Cape Town Stadium.

“I would not have missed it for the world, it’s incredible, a dream come true,” Heleen Scriven, a South African who had traveled from Pretoria because her daughter had surprised her with tickets to the game for her birthday, explained to Efe from the stands .

The Roger Federer Foundation had previously held five matches for Africa, called ‘Match for Africa’, but this was the first time that it was not only a tournament ‘for’ the African continent but ‘on’ it.

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“Finally in Africa, I’m sorry it took so long, this means a world to me,” said Federer, into the microphone just before his one-on-one showdown with Nadal, sparking affectionate applause from the audience.

For his part, the Mallorcan tennis player assured that the experience was also being “unforgettable” for him, especially, knowing that he contributes to a cause for “children” who have not had the luck of being born in privileged environments in which the needs Basic are covered.

During the day, both tennis players had also made a small exhibition before the City of Cape Town, under the shadow of the emblematic Table Mountain.

They also had a small event with 5-year-olds from schools in the townships (former ghettos) on the outskirts of Cape Town.

In this act they read stories and played games like “Simon Says” to emphasize the importance of universal education. EFE

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