Many sports stars and sporting brands and retailers have invested in education and community projects to improve the lives of less fortunate people – for example, TFG Foundation (The Foschini Group) invested about R17.2-m in various education initiatives over the past five years. But top of mind is the record-breaking $3.5-m raised for the Roger Federer Foundation during the 6th Match in Africa played in front of a record-breaking 52 000 crowd in Cape Town on Friday night.
Federer started the foundation, operating in several African countries, when he was 22, after he was encouraged by his Afrikaans mom, Lynette, to focus on children in the crucial pre-school development phase.
Preceding the Match in Africa Federer and his friend/opponent Rafael Nadal spent time with children and fans – signing autographs, playing practice matches in front of people who were not lucky enough to get tickets and even reading to youngsters. Sports Trader’s Nicol du Toit was fortunate to be among the photographers allowed to capture the day in pictures.
They further entertained the enthusiastic crowd by partnering with Bill Gates and Trevor Noah in a doubles match, during which Noah fiercely contested every point … some only verbally.
Table Mountain formed an iconic backdrop for the historic match – the first time Roger Federer played in South Africa. Rafael Nadal played here in a Nike junior tournament as a youngster.
The crowd of nearly 52 000 was a world record at a tennis match … imagine the boost to local retailers if each of them bought a tennis racket!
At the end of the three-set match, Nadal jumped over the net to congratulate his friend with his 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win.
Siya Kolisi donated a Number 8 Federer-branded Springbok jersey to his hero Roger and bonded with Trevor Noah when he escorted him off the stage.