Back in November, Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev played an exhibition match in Mexico City 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 big and attractive it was, the record stood for less than three months, though, with tennis giants Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal raising the bar to a higher level in Cape Town last Friday night, writing history books as many times before in the last 15 years.
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 years to come! The first Match in Africa occurred in Zurich in 2010 and Roger and Rafa were the main protagonists as well, getting together again a decade later to share their passion for the sport with the people in South Africa, a land of Roger's mother where he never competed before.
Of course, it all happened for an excellent cause, raising money for the Roger Federer Foundation with the help of Bill Gates and Trevor Noah who shared the court with the legends in the doubles clash that served as an overture for the main action between the 39-time Major champions.
In the end, 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 these two with Rafa.
Preparing it for months, both players agreed to play on February 7, finishing their Australian Open duties and gathering in South Africa for one of the most significant sporting events of the entire year. Just two days earlier, Nadal had opened his Rafa Nadal Academy in Kuwait, traveling to Cape Town and sharing the glorious moment with the opponent against whom he battled all over the world for 40 times in official encounters, taking many titles from each other but always respecting the rival and his achievements.
Federer couldn't thank Nadal enough for all the efforts and for making that long trip to South Africa after a grueling month of January in Australia, sending his friend and rival signed racquet from the Match in Africa event.
The racquet should be proudly displayed at Rafael Nadal's Museum at his Academy in Mallorca, together with the Spaniard's most significant trophies and other memorabilia from his encounters against Roger.