ATP Tour

PICTURE | Nadal ALSO got a Springbok jersey!

Rafael Nadal (Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Match in Africa on Friday will be remembered forever and a day by those fortunate to have been in attendance as well as the millions who followed on social media and TV.

The crowd that braved the traffic to file through the turnstiles at the Cape Town Stadium smashed the old record number (42 517) for spectators watching a tennis match live, setting a new mark of 51 954.

The evening showcased the power sport possesses in uniting a country as fans from far and wide for a couple of hours at least got to forget the myriad of problems currently afflicting the country.

The evening was full of memorable moments - none more so than when Springbok captain Siya Kolisi emerged from the tunnel to toss the coin to determine who would serve - and receive - first in the main match between tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Prior to his official on-court duty, Kolisi presented Federer with a Springbok jersey with the 20-time Grand Slam champion's name emblazoned on the back, along with, curiously, the number 8 - rumoured to represent the number of Wimbledon titles Federer has won. (Emails to mysport@sport24.co.za if the #8 Wimbledon connection made sense to you)

As Federer slipped the skin-tight jersey over his Uniqlo-sponsored shirt, the crowd erupted in delight.

It soon became clear, however, that Nadal, who graciously found time in his schedule to provide the opposition for the sixth instalment of the Match for Africa series in aid of the Roger Federer Foundation, would not be the recipient of a similar green & gold jersey.

It didn't sit well with many as Nadal, a 19-time Grand Slam winner himself, had more than played his part in helping raise a staggering $3.5 million (R52.8 million) for his rival's foundation.

However, post-match organisers made right, with Kolisi pictured gifting the Spanish star with a Springbok replica jersey. It's unclear whether Nadal's jersey had 12 on the back to represent each of his victories at Roland Garros.

All's well that ends well.

- Compiled by Garrin Lambley

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