Nadal 1, Federer 0 in Cape Town game of Simple Simon
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.
Please take note of the items not allowed into the stadium on match day.— @MatchInAfrica (@matchinafrica) February 6, 2020
For any doubt, any camera with a detachable lens and/or a SLR (Single Reflex Lens) type is considered “professional” in terms of this provision, and will not be allowed into the stadium.#MatchInAfrica pic.twitter.com/FHYax0zcnY
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Federer was joined by his mother Lynette, who was born in Johannesburg, and father Robert. Nadal was joined by his father, Sebastián.
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.
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