Federer and Nadal exhibition breaks record for tennis match attendance

Hannah Wilks:

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's Match for Africa exhibition in Cape Town attracted a record 51,954 spectators and raised over $3 million for the Roger Federer Foundation.

The charity match was played at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday 7 February, and featured a singles match between Federer and Nadal as well as a doubles match with billionaire Bill Gates and Daily Show host Trevor Noah.

A record 51,954 spectators – the highest number of people ever recorded to have attended a tennis match – came to watch.

Federer announced via Instagram that the event had raised over $3 million:

Federer established the Roger Federer Foundation, which helps fund education programmes in Africa, in 2004 and has been organizing ‘Match for Africa’ exhibitions over the past decade.

It was the occasion for the infamous blooper reel video as Federer and Nadal struggled to control their giggles while filming a promo:

Subsequent Matches for Africa have featured Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

Federer’s mother Lynette, who was born in South Africa, performed the coin toss for the event.

Both Federer and Nadal were gifted with Springboks jerseys by World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi.

Federer sports his Springboks jersey on the court with South Africa rugby captain Siya Kolisi

Federer said afterwards:

‘It was such a privilege to be here tonight.

‘It was an absolute pleasure to share the court with Rafa again. It really is very special on so many levels. This is so much more than just tennis and I really hope we can do it again.’

Nadal said:

‘The energy has been fantastic. We can’t describe our feelings. It is a lifetime experience playing in front of such an amazing crowd in such an amazing stadium.

‘Well done to Roger, his family and all his team because the organisation of this event has been fantastic. It’s a big pleasure to be part of it and encourage Roger for this good cause. He is doing a great job. We try to give much as much as we can because we have been very lucky.’

The night ended with some dancing from all concerned: