ATP Tour

#FEDAL | Match in Africa brings together tennis greats

Rafael Nadal and Rger Federer (Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal and Rger Federer (Getty Images)

Cape Town - As the dust settles on the year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open in Melbourne, fans of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal - or #FEDAL - are gearing up for the much-anticipated Match in Africa 6, due to take place on Friday, February 7 at the Cape Town Stadium.

READ | Trevor Noah confirms he'll be Rafael Nadal's partner at Match in Africa

The match will be the first in the series of Match for Africa exhibition clashes to be contested on African soil. 

Swiss maestro Federer, winner of a record 20 Grand Slams and owner of 103 ATP titles, will play his great Spanish friend and rival, Rafael Nadal, whose CV boasts 19 Grand Slams and 84 career victories.

In addition to the clash between two of tennis' greatest ever exponents, there will be - much to the delight of the crowd assembled - a doubles match featuring on one side of the net Nadal and SA funny man Trevor Noah, while opposing them shall be Federer and Microsoft co-founder, philanthropist and rand trillionaire, Bill Gates. 

Federer recently confirmed on Twitter that he and Gates have picked #Gateserer as the name for their pairing.

The concept behind the Match for Africa series is to help raise funds for the Roger Federer Foundation which in turn engages in charitable programmes in Africa and Switzerland - and has done so for more than 16 years. 

The foundation, which has a specific focus on education, transport and food, has benefitted over 1.5 million children in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Switzerland to date.

The inaugural Match for Africa was held in Federer’s native Switzerland where he took on Nadal in December 2010.

In December 2014 Federer played compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the Match for Africa 2 in Zurich, Switzerland.

The third clash in the series saw Andy Murray up against Federer in April 2017, once again in Switzerland.

Later that month American fans were treated to the fourth edition in Seattle which raised more than $2 million. Match for Africa 4 saw the introduction of a doubles match which showcased Federer and Gates up against American big server John Isner and Pearl Jam rocker, Mike McCready.

Match for Africa 5 was played in San Jose in 2018 and was contested between Federer and American Jack Sock. Gates once again teamed up with Federer, while Sock and Savannah Guthrie of NBC news provided the doubles opposition.

And so we arrive at Match for Africa 6 in the Mother City.

In addition to raising further funds for the Roger Federer Foundation, the clash at the Cape Town Stadium - which was built to host matches during the 2010 Soccer World Cup - is aiming to break the word record for the most-attended tennis match in history. 

The current record was set in November 2019 when Federer defeated Germany's Alexander Zverev in Mexico City in front of 42 517 fans. 

However, according to organisers of Friday's match, as many as 50 000 spectators are expected to file their way through the turnstiles in Cape Town.

For more information, visit the official Match in Africa website.

- Compiled by Corneli Dittrich

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