Two of the most decorated and successful players in history will face each other in front of the record-breaking crowd of 50,000 in Cape Town. Roger Federer will compete in South Africa for the first time on February 7 against Rafael Nadal, embracing the “Roger Federer – Rafael Nadal Match In Africa” in the land of his mother.
The 20-time Major champion with South African citizenship is thrilled about competing in this country for the first time, hoping to raise more than $1 million for the Roger Federer Foundation that supports early childhood education in six African countries and Switzerland.
Also, the goal was to offer a chance for as many people to watch two legends of our sport, with the world record attendance likely to happen on Friday. Alongside their regular meetings on the Tour, Roger and Rafa had the opportunity to embrace eight unofficial meetings from the first one in Seoul on November 2006, offering a chance for a crowd in Mallorca, Zurich, Madrid, Abu Dhabi, Oregon and New Delhi to enjoy in their magic in a more relaxed way in comparison to those serious ATP Tour battles that have been among the best in history.
After more than four years, the time has come for another intriguing encounter between the winners of 39 Major singles titles that will also include Bill Gates and South African comedian Trevor Noah, in what guarantees to be one of the sporting events of the year in South Africa.
“I don’t know what took me so long, to be quite honest,” says Federer. “I said, ‘It’s not possible that I’m on tour for 20 years, I’ve become the player that I am, and I’ve never played in South Africa.
It’s just not OK.’ I couldn’t live with myself if that happened. You know how it is; life on tour sometimes is what it is. I couldn’t be more excited now that it’s finally happening. I hope I’m going to be fine to play; I believe I am, but we’ll see.
Also, that Rafa is willing to do it is exciting, of course. I know my parents are very happy, very proud, as well. I’m sure it’s going to be very, very special for me on many levels to play there.” “It will be such an emotional moment for him,” Händel said about the event in South Africa, which also is slated to include an appearance by Bill Gates.
“For him, it’s a dream. It’s been a project for quite some time,” said Janine Handel, Roger Federer Foundation CEO.