In November 2019, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev played an exhibition match in Mexico City. Two stars played at the stunning Plaza de Toros bullring in front of 42,517 fans, setting the world record for attendance at a tennis match.
No matter how attractive it was, it stood for under three months. Tennis giants Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal raised the bar to a higher level in Cape Town on February 7, 2020, writing history books as many times in the previous 15 years.
As a part of the Match in Africa 6, Roger and Rafa battled at the Cape Town Stadium in front of a crowd of 51,954, setting a new world record that will take some beating in the future. Two legends joined forces a decade after the first Match in Africa 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.
Federer sent Nadal a signed racquet after the 2020 Match in Africa.
Of course, it all happened for a worthy cause, raising money for the Roger Federer Foundation alongside Bill Gates and Trevor Noah, who shared the court with them in the doubles clash.
In a singles match between the 39-time Major winners, Federer toppled Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in an hour and 45 minutes. Thus, Roger kept his perfect record in the Match in Africa after previously beating Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, John Isner and Jack Sock.
Preparing it for months, both players agreed to play on February 7 following their Australian Open duties. They gathered in South Africa for one of the most significant sporting events of the entire year. Just two days earlier, Nadal opened his Rafa Nadal complex in Kuwait and traveled to Cape Town to share the glorious moment with the opponent against whom he had battled all over the world 40 times since 2004.
Federer could not thank Nadal enough for all his efforts and for making that long trip to South Africa after a grueling month of January in Australia. He sent his friend and rival a signed racquet from the Match in Africa event.
The racquet is proudly displayed at Rafael Nadal's Museum in Mallorca, together with the Spaniard's most significant trophies and other memorabilia from his encounters with Roger. Two and a half years later, Roger and Rafa stood on the same side of the court, with the Swiss ending his glorious career at the Laver Cup in September. He picked Nadal as his partner, embracing one last ride and sailing into tennis history.