Like them or not, you have to give big kudos to both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for their generosity during this holiday season. Instead of resting and relaxing at some beachside resort after a long, tough season, the two mega-stars of tennis are hard at work raising money for a good cause and giving us fans an extra special year-end Christmas bonus.
Yesterday, Federer and Nadal joined up on court to raise over $2.61 million dollars (or 2.5 million Swiss Francs) for the underprivileged in Africa and the Federer foundation. That’s a heck of an effort.
As for the match, well it was an exhibition and the quality was very much exhibition-like. It was no shock Federer won in front of his Zurich fans (I expect Nadal to win in straight sets today) but the court appeared to be super slick which didn’t make for the best of tennis as neither player was running at top gear. What was a surprise was how little on-court banter there was between the two during the match, something I think they’ll rev up for today. Still, there were some entertaining moments and the preamble videos and pictures were worth the event alone.
“This is a special match for me, which I’ll remember forever, not just only for a long, long time,” Federer said after the 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win. “I thought obviously of doing a match like this for a long time, but I felt comfortable doing it this year and Rafa was so supportive and coming over and helping… I’ll look back on this with very fond memories forever and that I was able to pull off this event here in Switzerland for the first time so nicely and with such hype, it was just amazing.”
And while their respective fan bases may not get along, it’s crystal clear that Federer and Nadal have genuine friendship – are they not a cute couple with their Euro scarfs, etc? How many other 1s and 2s from tennis or from any sport are this cordial and gentlemanly to each other as Fed and Rafa are, and this is during wartime! Picking Rafa up at the airport? Seriously?
Again, very high marks for both players. And there’s more money to come as the proceeds from the contest today in Madrid benefit the Rafael Nadal foundation.
“It’ll be very exciting for me, and very emotional for me also,” Nadal said yesterday. “Thanks to Roger for coming tomorrow. We never played together in Switzerland before, but in Madrid it’s going to be the third time I think. We’re going to be 1-1, he beat me in 2009, I beat him in 2010, so it’s going to be a decisive moment.”
ESPN2 will have live TV coverage again at 1pm today.
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