On this day two years ago, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal wrote history books in Cape Town. In November 2019, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev played an exhibition match in Mexico City at the stunning Plaza de Toros bullring in front of 42,517, setting the world's record for attendance at a tennis match.
As it turned out, the achievement stayed alive for under three months, as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal raised the bar to a higher level in Cape Town on Friday 7, 2020. As a part of the Match in Africa 6, Roger and Rafa battled at the Cape Town Stadium in front of the crowd of 51,954, setting a new world record that will take some beating in the future.
The first Match in Africa occurred in Zurich in 2010, and Roger and Rafa were the main protagonists. Two legends gathered a decade later to share their passion for the sport with the people in South Africa, a land of Roger's mother where he had never competed before.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal set the world record in February 2020.
It all happened for a good cause, raising money for the Roger Federer Foundation. The event gathered Bill Gates and Trevor Noah, who shared the court with the legends in the doubles clash that served as an introduction for the main action between the 39-time Major champions.
Federer toppled Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an hour and 45 minutes, keeping his perfect record in the Match in Africa after beating Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, John Isner and Jack Sock in the encounters between those two against Rafa.
Preparing for months, both players agreed to play on February 7, finishing their Australian Open duties and gathering in South Africa for one of the year's most significant sporting events. The Swiss made an early break in the opening set and served well for 6-4 in 38 minutes.
Federer stole the first point on the return with a volley winner at the net and secured another with a quick net rushing for a break and an early lead. Roger fended off a break chance in game eight with a service winner and grabbed the opener with a hold at love at 5-4.
Rafa broke twice at the beginning of the second set to open a 4-1 gap, wasted a set point on the return at 5-2 and closed the set a few minutes later for 6-3. The Swiss broke early in the third set and fended off a break chance in game nine to seal the deal with a half-volley winner that concluded a historical night of tennis in Cape Town.