Tennis fans got quite the belated Christmas gift yesterday when two of the sport’s biggest legends, Serena Williams and Roger Federer, faced each other across the net for the first time in their lengthy careers.
The pair — who share a staggering 43 Grand Slam singles titles between them — participated in a historic mixed doubles match as part of the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. Federer joined Belinda Bencic to represent Switzerland, while Williams partnered with Frances Tiafoe for the United States.
As a crowd of more than 14,000 people looked on — the highest single-session attendance in the event’s 31-year history — Federer and Williams, both outfitted in Nike kicks, visibly reveled in the experience of playing each other. Federer’s team ultimately triumphed, winning the abbreviated format match by the score of 4-2, 4-3 (5-3).
The two tennis titans then delighted fans by posing for a superstar selfie that has since gone viral. They captioned the snap, “Oh what a night.” During an on-court interview, Williams shared her excitement about playing 37-year-old Federer, who she deemed “the greatest of all time.”
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“I’m kind of sad it’s over — I was just warming up,” Williams said. “Honestly, it was so fun. We grew up together, and so having an opportunity after all of these years to play each other — we’ve actually never done this. It’s super-cool that we actually get to do this at this pinnacle of both of our careers.”
Federer admitted to being “nervous” to take on Williams, particularly her killer serve. “People talk about her serve so much, and I now see why — it is such a wonderful serve, because you just can’t read it,” he said.
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