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February 27, 2021

Tennis: Federer downs Nadal in first charity exhibition

ZURICH – Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal competed in the first of two charity exhibitions Tuesday night in Zurich, the ‘Match For Africa’ to benefit the Roger Federer Foundation, won by the Swiss 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

“This is a special match for me, which I’ll remember forever, not just only for a long, long time,” Federer said afterward, quoted by atpworldtour.com.

The ATP World Tour’s top two players put on a competitive show at Hallenstadion Arena, which had sold out in a record two minutes, in their first meeting since last month’s title match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

“The atmosphere is quite different; it’s not a tournament really, it’s just one particular match, which honestly I’m not quite used to doing,” said Federer. “The focus is just solely on two players and one match. There was quite a pressure going into a match like this, but at the end of the day, it’s so not important who won the match tonight. It was a match for Africa, this money is going to go to a good cause, for my Foundation, for kids in Africa, so I’m so proud and so happy that we all made it work, so thanks again to everybody.”

Nadal, who joked that he liked Federer “a little bit less,” after two straight losses, echoed many of the Swiss’ sentiments. “It wasn’t an easy match with new conditions, no days of preparation… The im­por­tant thing is what he said is the money for the Foundation, for very good causes, for the kids, for the people that really need help, so I’m very happy to be part of this event. Thank you to Roger who invited me here. It was an unforgettable experience. “ The pair has make the quick trip to Spain for the “Joining Forces for the Benefit of Children” exhibition Wed­nesday night at the Caja Magica, home of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, with proceeds from the evening to benefit the Rafa Nadal Foundation.

Though Nadal anticipates a similar atmosphere to Tuesday’s exhibition, he added about playing in front of his home country fans, “It’ll be very exciting for me, and very emotional for me also. Thanks to Roger for coming tomorrow.”

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