Unidos Por La Infancia

The Caja Magica is familiar to both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Two of their past three tour-level meetings came at this venue, home of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, with Federer winning the final in 2009 and Nadal this past May.

On Wednesday night, it once against provided the stage for a meeting between the world’s top two players, but this time as a charity exhibition match – “Joining Forces For the Benefit Of Children” – to raise money for the Rafa Nadal Foundation.

“To me, today is a very special day,” said Nadal, who along with Federer was escorted onto the court by children. “I am lucky enough to be able to do what I love to do, which is to play tennis, but at the same time, through my Foundation, I get the opportunity to help hundreds of kids who are not as lucky.”

Spectators at the Caja Magica – including recently retired former World No. 1 Carlos Moya, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and the royal family – were treated to another high-quality match Wednesday night, won by Nadal 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1.

After trading breaks to start the match, the set headed to a tie-break after Federer faced down three break points at 4-all and Nadal saved a set point in the next game. The 24-year-old Mallorcan took the mini-break to go up 3-1 in the tie-break and sealed the set with an ace.

Federer secured the only service break in the fifth game of the second set, but Nadal quickly took control in the third, racing out to a 3-0 lead. He converted on double break point opportunity to go up 5-1, and closed out the match on serve with a forehand winner.

The pair faced off in Federer’s home country for the first of two charity exhibitions Tuesday night – the ‘Match For Africa,’ won by the Swiss in three sets – raising $2.6 million for the Roger Federer Foundation.

“I just can say thank you very much to Roger to come here to Madrid and support my Foundation today,” said Nadal. “I did yesterday, and both of us are very happy that we can finally have this event and raise a lot of money for these kids. I know with what we’re going to raise yesterday and today, it’s not going to be decisive for that, but it will be a help and if everybody is convinced that everybody can help, it’s going to be important to improve a little bit this world.”

Date: 23.12.2010, Source: ATP


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