Stars from the tennis, business and entertainment worlds came together for a great cause at the SAP Center in San Jose on Monday night, as Roger Federer hosted Match For Africa 5: Silicon Valley.
With the money raised from the event going to the Roger Federer Foundation—which supports education projects in six different countries in southern Africa as well as his native Switzerland—Federer welcomed fellow ATP tour star Jack Sock, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and NBC Today Show co-host Savannah Guthrie to battle it out on the tennis court in the name of charity.
Federer and Gates—who won a doubles match at the Match For Africa in Seattle last year—improved to 2-0 as a team, holding off a late surge to beat Sock and Guthrie in the first match of the night, 6-3.
“I think I’m good at picking partners,” Gates said afterwards when asked about his undefeated record.
“Thank you for being part of the Match For Africa again,” Federer said to Gates. “I look up to you for everything you do, so thank you, and thank you for being a great, great partner tonight too.”
After a short break, Federer and Sock came back on court for the feature singles match and they certainly didn’t disappoint the sold-out crowd. It wasn’t all business—in the first set, Sock hit an ace after tricking Federer into looking away. The American No. 1 also gave his racquet to a ball girl for a few points early in the second set. But at the end of the day, the world No. 1 battled to victory. Federer came back from a break down twice to win the first set and eventually close it out in straights, 7-6 (9), 6-4.
“Roger, in my opinion, is the greatest of all time to play this sport,” Sock told the crowd afterwards. “And I think he’s just as amazing a person off the court with all his philanthropy and his foundation.
“Thank you for inviting me and letting me be a part of this.”
“Thanks to Jack for being such an unbelievable sport tonight,” Federer said. “It was so much fun tonight—honestly—I really enjoyed it. I love playing in new places I’ve never been before, and all the fans made it super special. Thanks to everyone for coming out and supporting my foundation.”
After the interviews it was revealed to the crowd that the event had raised more than $2.5 million.
“These kinds of evenings are great opportunities for us, not only to raise funds, but also to raise awareness for our cause,” Roger Federer Foundation CEO Janine Handel told Tennis Channel’s Ted Robinson at the event. “So many children are living in poverty and one of the most powerful tools to exit poverty is education, so they have a chance in life and can reach their full potential.”
This was Federer’s fifth Match For Africa—the first four saw the 20-time Grand Slam champion play against Rafael Nadal (2010), Stan Wawrinka (2014), Andy Murray (2017) and John Isner (also 2017).
For more information on the Roger Federer Foundation, please visit www.rogerfedererfoundation.org.
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