17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer hosted a fantastic charity event titled ‘A Night with Roger Federer and Friends’ which featured an exhibition match between himself and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as well as appearances from Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter and tennis legend Rod Laver. To the delight of the packed crowd on centre court, “The Rocket” came out to hit a few balls with Federer, which added to the spectacle.
“Well I was nervous and then he came out and I tried to keep the ball in play. I was able to do that. It was just a dream come true to be able to play some balls with him, spend time with him, speaking to him, he’s such an inspiration and has such a big impact on the game of tennis particularly here in Australia and it’s very, very special for all of us,” Federer said.
Federer’s opponent for the charity match, French world No.10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Swiss star won the contest over Tsonga 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5, but the true focus was on Federer’s foundation, with the televised event and resulting donations raising more than $1 million on the night.
“It’s something that’s very close to my heart, (I’m) very emotionally attached to it,” Federer said. “For me to reach 10 years already is a great deal because I’m happy I was able to start it so early … My mum has been the big inspiration behind me starting the foundation from a very young age and in 10 years of the foundation we’ve reached about 86,000 kids, so far, who are poorly educated.
“We have an ambitious goal to reach 1 million kids by 2018 and an event like this is obviously going to help in a great way.”
The entire event is available to watch below: