Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal serve up a Grand Parade surprise for Capetonians

Rafael Nadal, Bill Gates and Roger Federer in Cape Town on February 6 2020.
Rafael Nadal, Bill Gates and Roger Federer in Cape Town on February 6 2020.
Image: Twitter/Roger Federer

Almost 30 years to the day since a Nelson Mandela appeared as a free man at the Grand Parade in Cape Town, two of the world's biggest tennis stars were set to do the same thing on Friday.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were expected at the Parade between 11.30am and noon for what organisers of their Match in Africa said would be an "iconic photo shoot".

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On February 11, 1990, Mandela made his first public speech in 27 years from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall, which stands on the south side of the Parade.

The balcony where he stood now features a statue commemorating the occasion.

On Friday evening, Federer and Nadal are due to face each other over the net at Cape Town Stadium in front of a world record-setting 50,000 crowd and a worldwide television audience.

On Thursday, Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates joined them for a practice session on Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard.

Comedian Trevor Noah was flying in on Friday to make up a doubles quartet that will entertain the crowd before the main event, which will be televised on Supersport 1.

The main objective of the so-called Match in Africa is to raise money for Federer's education foundation.

Children will also be the focus at a “learning through play” session at Cape Town Athletics Stadium on Friday afternoon.

This will be followed by an open practice session and a press conference on the court that has been built on the Cape Town Stadium pitch.

The evening crowd will be entertained by the Ndlovu Youth Choir, which won millions of fans across the world last year with its performances on America's Got Talent.

There will also be a performance by Cape Town's Zip Zap Circus.

On Thursday, Match in Africa sponsor Moët & Chandon hosted a brunch with Federer at the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town, where the star played tennis on a mini court with Springbok captain Siya Kolisi.

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