Roger Federer got the win on Friday, however that wasn’t the biggest part of the night for the tennis great.
Federer, in front of nearly 52,000 fans in his first-ever match in South Africa, beat Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an exhibition while raising $3.5 million for his foundation. Federer, whose mom was born in South Africa, called the night “magical.”
“We tried our best as always,” Nadal said, via the Associated Press. “It's a lifetime experience playing in front of such an amazing crowd in an amazing stadium. It was a big pleasure for me to be part of it.”
The Roger Federer Foundation had a goal to raise $1 million from the exhibition match, which it would use to support early childhood education in six southern African countries, per the Associated Press. Yet, with a crowd of 51,954 people in Cape Town Stadium — which is the largest crowd on record for a tennis match, and organizers said they had 200,000 more ticket requests they couldn’t fill — they easily surpassed the mark.
Federer and Nadal weren’t alone, either. Comedian and South African native Trevor Noah and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were in attendance, and even paired up with the tennis stars for a quick, one-set doubles match.
“Roger’s at a disadvantage,” said Noah, who was paired up with Nadal, via the Associated Press. “We’re both half-Swiss, half-South African, so I’m in his head. I know what he’s going to do.”
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