Nadal defeats Federer in Cape Town... but it's just a game of Simon Says

07 February 2020 - 15:00 By Bobby Jordan
Rafael Nadal, left, and Roger Federer with children from Hangberg Pre-Primary School in Hout Bay at a 'learning through play' session at Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Rafael Nadal, left, and Roger Federer with children from Hangberg Pre-Primary School in Hout Bay at a 'learning through play' session at Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

Rafael Nadal drew first blood against Roger Federer on Friday ahead of their charity match-up in Cape Town ... but it had nothing to do with tennis.

Nadal tricked Federer into a schoolboy error during a game of Simon Says with about 50 pre-school children from Hout Bay at the Green Point Athletics Stadium.

"I hope I play better tennis," said Federer.

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 ahead of their “Match in Africa” in front of a world-record crowd of 50,000 at Cape Town Stadium.

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.”

Roger Federer took selfies with fans on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Roger Federer took selfies with fans on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

Traffic began to back up in Cape Town city centre from noon on Friday when roads around the stadium began to be closed and the “fan walk” opened.

The Match in Africa was being staged to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation, which supports education projects in Africa and Switzerland.

One of the big screens at Cape Town Stadium being tested ahead of the Match in Africa between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on February 7 2020.
One of the big screens at Cape Town Stadium being tested ahead of the Match in Africa between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on February 7 2020.
Image: Bobby Jordan

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 Friday with a trip to the Bo-Kaap in central Cape Town.

World No 2 Rafael Nadal with Cape Town fans on the Grand Parade on February 7 2020.
World No 2 Rafael Nadal with Cape Town fans on the Grand Parade on February 7 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

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.

Sebastián Nadal, Roger Federer, Lynette Federer, Rafael Nadal and Robert Federer on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Sebastián Nadal, Roger Federer, Lynette Federer, Rafael Nadal and Robert Federer on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

Federer was joined by his mother Lynette, who was born in Johannesburg, and father Robert. Nadal was joined by his father, Sebastián.

Mirka Federer, left, during the 'learning through play' session at Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town on February 7 2020
Mirka Federer, left, during the 'learning through play' session at Green Point Athletics Stadium in Cape Town on February 7 2020
Image: Esa Alexander

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 on Saturday.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lark about on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal lark about on the Grand Parade in Cape Town on February 7 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

The stadium gates were due to open at 4.30pm on Friday for the arrival of a crowd which is expected to set a new record for a tennis match.

The main event gets 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 will start at 8.30pm. 

Editor's note: This article has been amended to make clear that Federer and Nadal were playing Simon Says with the children, not Simple Simon 


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