Cape Town - Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi has welcomed "sporting icon" Roger Federer to Cape Town with a warm embrace.
Federer, the record holder of 20 Grand Slam titles, is back in South Africa for Friday's Match in Africa clash against rival Rafael Nadal at the Cape Town Stadium.
During a press conference at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday, Federer mentioned that due to family commitments he wouldn't be able to attend the Stormers v Bulls Super Rugby derby at Newlands on Saturday, but "would make every effort to catch up with Kolisi".
On Thursday, that became a reality.
Federer confirmed that he was "having a haircut" in Zurich during last year's Rugby World Cup final in Yokohama, but did message his congratulations to Kolisi and the Springbok team "no more than 10 minutes after the final whistle".
Kolisi, writing on his Instagram account, said: What a pleasure @rogerfedererA true sporting icon. Your words continue to inspire me and have been an important part of my journey. It was an honour to welcome you to Cape Town
The Swiss ace and his long-time Spanish foe will square off in the Match in Africa, the sixth instalment of exhibition matches for the Roger Federer Foundation.
To date the foundation has raised over $52 million in support of educational and athletics programmes for children in Africa.
Federer, winner of 103 ATP titles, has a strong connection to South Africa with his mother Lynette having been born in the country. As a child he regularly visited these shores with his parents.
Organisers of the Match in Africa are hoping to fit as many as 50 000 fans into the stadium on Friday, which will break the world attendance record for a tennis match.
The current record was set in November 2019 when Federer defeated Germany's Alexander Zverev in a bullring in Mexico City in front of 42 517 fans.
In addition to the match at 20:30, a doubles match between Federer and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates against Nadal and SA comedian Trevor Noah will take place at 19:30.
Both matches will be screened live on SuperSport 1.
- Compiled by Garrin Lambley