By this time, big name players from the ATP are taking a much-needed breather after a grueling campaign in the recently-concluded Australian Open since the next Grand Slam event will happen in a few months.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have spent some time in Cape Town to partake in an exhibition match for charity, while their fellow Big 3 member in Novak Djokovic has been enjoying some time off with his family while continuing to grow his own foundation.
Meanwhile, several rising stars in Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov, and Denis Shapovalov have been participating in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
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Federer and Nadal host a fundraiser in Cape Town
Two of the greatest players ever to pick up a racquet have joined forces to give back to charity.
The exhibition match aptly named as “Match in Africa” was held in the 50,000-seater Cape Town Stadium, but the two made history for bringing in the biggest tennis crowd ever with 51,954 people attending.
“This Match in Africa is a dream that became true. We share not only the love for tennis but also for the good cause of giving children a better start in education and in life,” said Federer.
“Roger and I have shared so many magical moments on and off the court. Travelling with him to Cape Town and playing for the benefit of children is something I am very excited about,” said Nadal.
“It’s a lifetime experience playing in front of such an amazing crowd in an amazing stadium. It was a big pleasure for me to be a part of it,” Nadal added.
The highly-anticipated match raised $3.5-M for the Roger Federer Foundation that supports early childhood education in several African countries. It was Federer who came out on top in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah participated in the festivities as well by teaming up with Federer and Nadal in a men’s doubles match.
Federer and Gates defeated Nadal and Noah, 6-3, in a one-set exhibition.
The ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament is had just started, and the action is about to heat up because of a stacked playing field.
Daniil Medvedev, who was the winner of last season’s Cincinnati Masters, will be keen on winning his first one in Rotterdam. Prior to this one, he has made at least the quarterfinals in his last two appearances.
On the other hand, Gael Monfils will aim to retain his crown despite experiencing a tough draw. He had to face the likes of David Goffin, Daniil Medvedev, and Stan Wawrinka to bring home the title the last time around. Despite being the third seed, his ATP 2020 odds of winning it all again seem to be slim due to a more competitive playing field.
Grigor Dimitrov has already made his mark by advancing to the second round. Tennis fans were treated to some fast-paced action when he defeated Denis Shapovalov in two sets, 6-3, 7-6.
On the other side of the draw, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz will lock horns in what should be a fascinating match, while Karen Khachanov is primed to take down Fabio Fognini in the first round.
Adding hardware to their resume is the main objective for these players, so tennis fans should consider monitoring their respective progresses in Rotterdam.
Novak Djokovic nearing a new record
There’s no doubt that Novak Djokovic is the world’s top-ranked tennis player, and he continues to make his case when he won the Australian Open for the fifth time last February.
The Serbian sensation has been holding the No. 1 spot for 277 weeks and with the way he’s playing, barring any injuries, Djokovic may very well be on his way to surpass the legendary Pete Sampras’ record at 286.
Moreover, Djokovic has been confirmed to join the Monte-Carlo Open which will take place on mid-April in order to prepare for the Roland Garros.
He will join the likes of Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, and defending champion Fabio Fognini as he will be gunning for a better outing this year after losing to Medvedev in the quarterfinals last year.
Djokovic finished as a runner-up in the said tournament in 2009 and 2012. He eventually won his first in 2013, beating Rafael Nadal in the Finals to break the latter’s eight-title streak. Djokovic also won in 2015 where he defeated Tomas Berdych in three sets.
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