Nadal 1, Federer 0 in Cape Town game of Simple Simon

FUTURE FANS: Rafael Nadal, left, and Roger Federer meet children from Hangberg Pre-Primary School in Hout Bay at a ‘learning through play’ session at the Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town yesterday
FUTURE FANS: Rafael Nadal, left, and Roger Federer meet children from Hangberg Pre-Primary School in Hout Bay at a ‘learning through play’ session at the Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town yesterday
Image: Esa Alexander

Rafael Nadal drew first blood against Roger Federer yesterday heading into their charity matchup in Cape Town ... but it had nothing to do with tennis.

Nadal tricked Federer into a schoolboy error during a game of Simple Simon with about 50 preschool children from Hout Bay at the Green Point Athletics Stadium.

“I hope I play better tennis,” Federer said.

There was more laughter when the tennis stars were asked to read the Hangberg Pre-Primary children a story and Nadal’s heavy Spanish accent had his rival in hysterics.

Federer and Nadal left the children for a practice session before their “Match in Africa” in front of a world-record crowd of 50,000 at the Cape Town Stadium.

Security was at levels first seen for Soccer World Cup matches at Cape Town Stadium in 2010. A lengthy list of banned items and activities posted on the Match in Africa Twitter account included “braais and open fires”.

Spectators were warned: “These items may be confiscated by security and will not be returned.

“Due to the high-profile nature of this event, all persons entering the stadium will be subject to a pat-down search as well as a hand-held magnetometer search for any of the prohibited items.”

FOR THE FANS: Roger Federer poses for selfies with fans on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
FOR THE FANS: Roger Federer poses for selfies with fans on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
Image: Esa Alexander

Traffic began to pile up in Cape Town’s city centre from noon when roads around the stadium began to close and the “fan walk” opened.

The Match in Africa was staged to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation, which supports education projects in Africa and Switzerland.

BIG SCREEN SCENE: One of the big screens at Cape Town Stadium being tested ahead of the Match in Africa between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on Friday night
BIG SCREEN SCENE: One of the big screens at Cape Town Stadium being tested ahead of the Match in Africa between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on Friday night
Image: Bobby Jordan

It runs school readiness programmes in SA and five other countries in Southern Africa, and has invested more than R780m by supporting 7,000 schools in the last 16 years.

After arriving in Cape Town on Wednesday, Federer began yesterday with a trip to the Bo-Kaap in central Cape Town.

SELFLESS STAR: Tennis world No 2 Rafael Nadal poses with fans in Cape Town
SELFLESS STAR: Tennis world No 2 Rafael Nadal poses with fans in Cape Town
Image: Esa Alexander

Nadal joined him for a photo shoot on the Grand Parade, where the stars mingled with surprised Capetonians and had pictures taken with family members.

TENNIS SET: Roger Federer with his parents Robert, left, and Lynette, and Rafael Nadal with his father Sebastián on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
TENNIS SET: Roger Federer with his parents Robert, left, and Lynette, and Rafael Nadal with his father Sebastián on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
Image: Esa Alexander

Federer was joined by his mother Lynette, who was born in Johannesburg, and father Robert. Nadal was joined by his father, Sebastián.

MRS ‘THE FED’: Mirka Federer, left, was at the 'learning through play‘ session at the Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town yesterday
MRS ‘THE FED’: Mirka Federer, left, was at the 'learning through play‘ session at the Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town yesterday
Image: Esa Alexander

Federer’s wife, Mirka, with whom he has 10-year-old twin daughters and five-year-old twin boys, was seen at the “learning through play” session, and is expected to attend a Federer family gathering roday.

WARM-UP: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lark about on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
WARM-UP: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lark about on the Grand Parade in Cape Town
Image: Esa Alexander

The stadium gates were due to open at 4.30pm on Friday for the arrival of a crowd expected to set a new record for a tennis match.

The main event was due to get under way at 7.30pm with a half-hour doubles match featuring Federer and Microsoft founder Bill Gates against Nadal and comedian Trevor Noah.

After a break for entertainment by the Ndlovu Youth Choir and the Zip Zap Circus, the singles match between Federer and Nadal was scheduled to start at 8.30pm. 

Last night’s matches finished too late for our print deadline. See HeraldLIVE for the report online. — TimesLIVE


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