The crowd at Melbourne Park roared when two of the greatest tennis players, Roger Federer and Rod Laver, came face to face for the first time ever in the history of the sport.
On Wednesday evening, Federer exchanged volleys with Laver at the Rod Laver Arena as a warm-up for the charity exhibition match against World No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
At 75 years old, Laver showed the crowd that he still got it in him. He walked onto the court in his shorts and white collared shirt with a vest on. Laver got a standing ovation as soon as he is called. People applauded him. He smiled and waved at the crowd before he went to shake Federer's hands.
"Are you ready for the warm-up," Laver told Federer. "I am ready for the warm-up," Federer answered.
Federer certainly felt blissful for the opportunity of being able to play a few shots with the Australian legend. "Hitting with Rod Laver for me clearly is an absolute dream come true," Federer said. "It's in his arena as well, it's named after him and he deserves it so much," he added.
Federer recounted that his racket felt heavy while he was playing with Laver. "That means I was nervous which I really was," he said.
Watch Federer and Laver at the charity event below:
*Video courtesy: YouTube/australianopentv
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Laver has reportedly stayed to watch Federer and Tsonga play.
The charity event billed as "A Night with Roger and Friends" was Federer's effort to raise funds for his foundation and the Australian Tennis Foundation. Federer defeated Tsonga in straight sets, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-5, which lasted for over two hours.
The organisers of the said charity exhibition match revealed that they were able to raise more than $1 million before and during the said event.
The Swiss athlete, who dropped to the sixth place in the world rankings, said that the idea of having a charity event like this could take place more often. "The Australian Open showed me that they were so open-minded," said Federer. "They didn't shy away," he added. "They weren't scared that their ticket sales would drop because of an event like this, who knows, it might actually be better for them," Federer concluded.
After losing to Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in the finals of the 2014 Brisbane International on Sunday, Federer heads into his first attempt to achieve a Grand Slam at the 2014 Australian Open where he is seeded sixth.
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