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Roger Federer and Majorcan Rafael Nadal have set a record for the most watched tennis match in history, in a charity match in Cape Town (South Africa) before 51,954 spectators in which they also played doubles with tycoon Bill Gates and comedian Trevor Noah.
The event sold out within minutes of going on sale in September last year.
The match, called "The Match in Africa", was organized by the Roger Federer Foundation with the goal of raising more than one million dollars for its educational projects in southern Africa. That goal was also beaten, with the funds raised reaching $3.5 million.
"For me it is a real pleasure and an honour to be part of this special night, in the end has achieved a historic record in our sport and has also been achieved for a very good cause," said Nadal during the press conference held with Federer after the game. "Having been able to play a game of this caliber in this part of the world because I think it's a positive message, that good news comes from Africa," added the Spanish athlete.
For Federer the occasion was "magical", since his mother is South African and has great memories of his childhood there. For that reason, it was Lynette Federer who flipped the coin to decide who would start serving in the first duel of the night: a set of humorous doubles in which Trevor Noah and Bill Gates surprised the audience with their good skills with the racket.
Federer and Gates won the match 6 games to 3, but Noah and Nadal won the audience with their rapport to make jokes.
"Somebody turn off the air conditioning," joked the host of The Daily Show in the middle of the game as the wind picked up.
But the highlight of the evening came, of course, in the end, with the individual showdown between Nadal and Federer.
The draw for the start of the match was also made by another very special guest, the captain of the South African rugby team, Siya Kolisi, who also presented Federer with a green Springbok shirt as the stadium exploded with cheers.
In the end Federer won the exhibition match 6-4, 3-6 and 6-3.
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This was the first time that Nadal and Federer, two historic rivals who have become friends over the years, faced each other in sub-Saharan Africa and, in response, the Cape Town crowd did not disappoint, filling the stands of one of the venues that hosted the 2010 World Cup matches, Cape Town Stadium.
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