Roger Federer Plays Chauffeur, Picks Up Rafael Nadal From the Airport! [Pictures/Video]
by Tom Gainey | December 21st, 2010, 10:13 am

We are still hours from first ball in the Match for Africa tennis exhibition between greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but already there’s been a lot to talk about.

According to Blick press event ticker, Nadal arrived into Zurich earlier this morning just after 11am and guess who picked him up at the airport? Federer! Federer and his agent waited for Nadal on the runway, then it was Federer driving Nadal 25 minutes to his hotel in a Mercedes SLS (sponsor plug). Funny stuff.

Now if I didn’t have picture evidence you wouldn’t believe me. Here here:

Said Federer on Facebook, “Just picked up Rafa at the airport. Looking forward to lunch together in town.”

And they did.

“Went for a quick walk around downtown Zurich with Rafa before lunch,” Federer said.

After the brief 90 minute tour of Zurich and some lunch, it was time to get back in the Benz and return to the hotel for some last minute prep.

Boy, these guys must really HATE each other. Ha ha.

Both guys arrived at the Hallenstadion just after 3pm to hit and meet with kids.

The match begins at 8:20pm local time. ESPN2 will have it LIVE, not tape delay I’m informed. See the Blick link for the latest news plus video.


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42 Comments for Roger Federer Plays Chauffeur, Picks Up Rafael Nadal From the Airport! [Pictures/Video]

jesse Says:

fantastic sportsmen. can’t wait for match to start.

Basketball Goals Says:

haha awesome story. Very cool to see two at the top of their games have so much respect for each other.

leo vixen Says:

Wonder what Rafa is looking at whilst sitting in Roger’s car? Hmmmm! I’d give a million dollars for that thought.

TGiT Says:

Perhaps loose change…

Sean Randall Says:

Rafa must have dropped the engagement ring he was going to spring on Roger.

Cute couple.

Sean Randall Says:

Thanks for posting all this media, Tom. I’m going to watch now!

jane Says:

That’s sweet; they both look nice in grey. Hope their exo raises some good money for Africa.

Daniel Says:

Nadal missed the memo that each one would win on his home. He played the 4-4 gane putring pressure on all Fed’s serve. Will see…

Daniel Says:

Oh, and the courts are super fast, seems they was it.

Daniel Says:

Nadal is playing his forehand super flat and making a lot of winners. Seems like he is practicing a new aproach if he faces Fed on fast courts again.

Daniel Says:

Wow, the first time I have ever seen Nadal chip and charge on Fed’s second serve. Only and exo to bring this up.

the_mind_reels Says:

Anyone mind posting the score please?

Skeezerweezer Says:

Fed up 4-3 in the third 4-6.6-3. Fed serving up a break. Sorry but that 7th game was suspect. We’ll see I guess. O well, all for good cause….

the_mind_reels Says:

Thanks, Skeezer.

I take it Fed won 6-4 in the third?

Skeezerweezer Says:

Nice match. IMO no one lost today. Great stuff, good cause, and how cool to see two of the games best have the mutual respect for each other. Rafa was all class doing this for Fed and hope the same happens tomorrow in Madrid.

Skeezerweezer Says:



the_mind_reels Says:

Thanks, and yes, agree on all points with your comment @ 4:35p. Great ambassadors for our sport!

Am planning on watching the recorded match on ESPN2 later this evening.

steve-o Says:

Fun stuff, doesn’t matter who wins/loses as it’s all for charity, anyhow. Nice of Federer to pick up Nadal at the airport and show him around town.

Kimmi Says:

aaaagh missed the match. highlight anyone? lets me search the YouTube

Kimmi Says:

Is Roger’s car a Ferrari?

Kimmi Says:

Sorry Tom, I had to re-read your post. It is the benz i guess.

dunbar Says:

Kimmi, I thought they were trying – up the last 3 games, anyway, when my recording failed. With these planners, it seems to be sure to get the program you want, you’ve got to tape the next one as well.
One memorable Nadal shot: a superb return from Federer, landing virtually at Nadal’s feet, and he nonchalantly dismissed it, thundering it back to the base line. In general, whenever Nadal ran round his bh , you simply knew the point was going to be his, he just whips the ball generally inside out (I think I’m right in saying – not too good on my stroke names), and it’s a beautiful shot to see, whippy, elastic somehow and always put out of reach. When Federer does the same, it rarely comes off, he seems to have no timing on the ball. In fact, he tends to just set up his opponent for an easy winner, with himself being out of position.

Again and again, Federer was hitting the top of the net, many opportunities went begging. His fh drop shot, on the other hand, was a gem – lost count how many he did, all successful I believe. And finally, you have to say Federer’s serve got him out of trouble time and again.

These two guys were trying, and considering the size of the crowd, so they should have been. So it’s not absurd to comment on aspects of the match. Having said that, the match definitely lacked tension. One way of looking at it might be this: neither player was tanking, they gave of their best on the night. On the other hand, considering the low key nature of the occasion, neither player, especially Nadal, was able to pull out all the stops. So I think it is wrong to suggest the players aren’t really trying in these sort of matches; it’s just that they CAN’T give of their best, the adrenalin is absent.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Who said they weren’t trying?

dunbar Says:

I dunno, it was sort of implied that perhaps it was all just a big gas, I suspect many people might have thought this, at least before the match was played. I think anybody watching the match must have realised it was for real. All the same, it definitely lacked urgency, and that’s the sort of thing outside of anybody’s control.

guy Says:

you would expect there would be moments they are both trying hard, and other moments things have to be fudged a little. you don’t want a match 6262 for example, which could happen if it was legit. so if one player wasn’t playing that great, you’d expect the guy on top to lay off a little for the entertainment factor. but i’d be interested to hear what really goes on from players, retired perhaps.

Kimmi Says:

thanks dunbar for the summary. hope i get some highlights on youtube (havent checked yet)

Kimmi Says:

No highlights yet :( will have to keep searching, hopefully it will be posted tomorrow.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Yeah that is why IMO I said the 7th game in the 3rd was a little suspect. There might have been other times but I had a keen eye on that game, as the 7th game in any set is a key moment. But it is was not like they were not playing hard. It’s just they are the top pros of Tennis, so they can do a little here and there with no one noticing. I just noticed in the 7th game Rafa was not going after shots that he could have, and in the match there was some timely 2nd serves served as first serves…that kinda thing.


You are right if they played all out to kill what if one guy was on and the other guy off? If that happens, and then you would get a 6-2 6-2 score, would that be entertaining to the masses, then sponsors, the people and fans contributing for the show and cause? Just sayin…it’s all good and hope everyone keeps these exhos in perspective…..

BTW someone posted earlier how Mac said when he did exhos the players had an agreement. The first was all out each trying to win, and whoever won the first would somehow lose the second, then the 3rd was all out again. Sounds about right :-)

annegc1 Says:

If you check the famous ad for this match, Federer said that he would give the first set to Nadal as a Christmas’ gift

Naderer Says:

The truth is that these guys are standing in each others way. No present player can stop Nadal (other than Fed) nor Federer (other than Nadal) from dominating the big events. Sorry to Djurray fans but these guy have reached their potentials. Yes, perhaps Djoko can add a slam or two, as can Murray, but i dont see them dominating the mens tour

Naderer Says:

As for the aussie open, if Nadal is in the final and Fed isn’t, then lets hand the championship to him, as is the case if Fed is in the finals. If these two meet in the final, no1 can tell who the winner will be, it will be sheer hope. Infact such a match would identify to the ‘neutrals’ who they prefer

Catherine Says:

Haha at those taking this match seriously!
I was there, in the stadium, and it was obvious that neither of the two were trying at their best. Sure, some great shots, but also quite a few hilarious errors which were there to add to the fun. Awesome crowd cheering for BOTH, fantastic atmosphere.

Hopefully it will be the same in Madrid tonight.

Rog & Raf? JEWELS to the sport. In fact to any sport. Anyone still dismissing the obvious respect and friendship between the two must have their eyes (and perhaps brains, too?) checked asap. Long may their combined reign prevail!

van orten Says:

u could clearly see that it was a trainig match..they were nt at 100 % but it was fun to watch…

Kimo Says:

Can you imagine what pedestrians or motorists in Zurich who came across those two had in mind when they saw them. I would have been speechless.

I mean, imagine you’re drving in Zurich with a friend in the passenger seat. The conversation would be something like this:

“Oh man. Is that an SLS AMG up ahead. What a car!!!”
“Yeah, must belong to some really boring rich banker or something.”
“Well, let’s see.”

“Holy @#$!, is that Roger Federer?”
“OMG it is. Wait!! Who’s with him?”
“!@#$%&& %$##$%^ $@#$%^&”

Skeezerweezer Says:

Lol Kimo!

MMT Says:

I saw the match late last night, and I’ve got say, somewhere in the middle of that first set, Nadal figured out that with the speed of that court he’d be better off flattening his strokes, and boy did he ever. I saw him do that a couple of times during the Hit for Haiti at Indian Wells, and it’s just UNREAL hard he can hit it when he wants to. All the power that goes to creating spin when he plays his normal power is unleashed in pace when he flattens it out – amazing.

Looking forward to Madrid.

Federer-Nadal Match for Africa Raises over $2.5 Million; Event Shifts to Madrid Wednesday Says:

[...] Recent News… Roger Federer Plays Chauffeur, Picks Up Rafael Nadal From the Airport! [Pictures/Video] [...]

queen Says:

Love the updated video!!! Thanks

dunbar Says:

” it was obvious that neither of the two were trying at their best. Sure, some great shots, but also quite a few hilarious errors which were there to add to the fun.”

How can you tell? Nadal, for example, did one shank which is uncharacteristic of him and he looked duly wry about it. Acting is not one of his specialities, imo. Also – I stand open to correction – I suspect to deliberately shank a ball with heavy spin on it is not so simple. Federer shanks a lot, in all kinds of matches – obviously not on purpose.

Many times last night Fed hit the top of the net when going for it – you think that was deliberately just missing, to add to the gaiety of nations? Good as Federer is, I’m afraid he’s not that good. On the other hand, he has become notorious over the last 2 or 3 years for making inexplicable errors. He manouevres nicely into position, you complacently await the kill, and then he blows it! Admittedly, that’s just the sort of deeply irritating thing a fan would notice about his player, and maybe fail to notice about other players. Perhaps other players are just as guilty, I honestly don’t know.

But as to whether a player is consciously trying or not? I stick to my story, which is basically that the nature of effort magically alters according to the occasion…

dunbar Says:

The first set was closely contested without a doubt, and produced some very fine tennis. Early on, Federer reached high for a ball, and at the last second changed his mind, and the ball just dropped out, vindicating his decision. If the play had been just for fun, certainly he would have smacked the ball. The eighth and nineth games were monumental, each very nearly going against serve, and only being saved with some terrific tennis.
About the next two sets, I’m not sure. Didn’t look altogether real to me. Some interesting aspects, though. We learnt again that Federer’s fh drop shot is a good deal more reliable than his bh one. Fed’s fh was singing today, mainly placementwise, but he let go on one shot which was every bit as powerful as any I’ve seen from anyone.

All in all, quite entertaining. Two interesting stats from the commentator. Nadal’s second serve won the most points of all 2nd serves in 2010. You wouldn’t intuitively think that, would you – the 2nd serve being supposedly Nadal’s liability. Personally, I’ve always rated Nadal’s serve – very very difficult to do anything constructive with, even the 2nd. It’s what you might call a worker’s serve – solid and dependable, forming the foundation for what is to follow – as opposed to the elegant aristocratic serve, which looks beautiful, or awesome, but doesn’t always connect. The other stat – Nadal had the best return against second serves of 2010. Of course, this stat could actually have influenced, marginally, the other one, if you think about it.

Also learnt that Nadal’s Mum is a piano teacher. Imagine being taught the piano by her, eh. She is reputed to have said that in her opinion, Nadal when a child was nothing special as an athlete. A slow burner…

Next tourney at Abu Dhabi (?) also exho, but definitely serious this time, given its proximity to AO. Fed and Nadal byes into the semis, Baghdatis and Berdych fight for the right to meet Nadal, Tsonga and Soderling to meet Federer. If memory serves.

leo vixen Says:

I think Rafa is looking at the gear box and thinking that his Aston Martin is far better and Roger would be eating his dust! I like the comment about loose change though. lol.

scineram Says:

Yeah, there is no gearbox. Sadly.

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