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Federer vs Nadal: Why their exhibition match in Cape Town is so special

Federer vs Nadal – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have met 40 times over the last 15 years including nine Grand Slam finals, but the Swiss star is looking forward to taking on his rival in Cape Town next year.

Federer says that he is looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd of South African supporters in a city that holds many cherished childhood memories for the 20-time Grand Slam winner. The 38-year-old’s mother Lynette is South African giving the most decorated men’s player of the open era a strong connection to the country.

The two have an intense but friendly rivalry and have met each other in eight previous one-off exhibition matches. Two of those meetings were in Nadal’s stomping grounds of Mallorca and Madrid while they have also met in the Swiss capital Zurich and neutral venues in Seoul, Abu Dhabi, Oregon and New Delhi.

Federer and Nadal have both bagged more than $100-million in career prize money winning a staggering 187 singles titles between them.

While Federer has earned more Grand Slam and singles titles wins, Nadal is comfortably ahead of his Swiss rival in head to head meetings winning 24 of their 40 meetings, he hasn’t beaten Federer on a hard court since his straight-sets triumph in the 2014 Australian Open semifinals.

The rivalry between the two ranks not only among tennis’ greatest ever but is perhaps among the best in all of sport.

50,000 fans are expected to turn up to watch the pair go head to head once more, this time for charity in support of Federer’s foundation. 

Before they take each other on they will team up for a doubles exhibition against tech billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates and South African comedian Trevor Noah.

20e296eb federer nadal match in africa 6 - Federer vs Nadal: Why their exhibition match in Cape Town is so special
Federer vs Nadal: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet at Cape Town Stadium in February. Photo: Match in Africa/supplied

Federer vs Nadal – crazy match in Cape Town

“We needed another player for that charity match and Rafa was the one who came through my mind,” Federer said. “I called him and he was thrilled about it. We needed some time to find the right date, as it is always tricky in situations like this but I think it’s going to be very special.

“It should be crazy, the two of us coming to Cape Town, with all my contacts there and his will to help my foundation and compete in front of the South African fans. I have so many childhood memories from South Africa and it will be great to face one of my fiercest rivals there, it means a lot to me, especially with a good cause and charity. We will be playing outdoors and I hope for good weather; can’t wait for it to start.”

The Match in Africa – as it is billed – will take place on 7 February at Cape Town Stadium, there will also be a fan park for viewers who want to soak in some of the atmosphere but weren’t able to secure tickets.

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