Serena Williams and Roger Federer — considered the greatest men’s and women’s tennis players of all time — kicked off the new year playing against each in Australia on Tuesday.
Federer emerged victorious from the historic mixed doubles match with Williams at the Hopman Cup in Perth. It marked the first time in their careers that the duo faced off on the court. The pair have won 43 grand slam singles titles between them and each has earned more than $100 million in prize money and endorsements.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse published Monday, Federer said he was hopeful his fans would tune in “because it’s going to be one time and probably never again.”
“We’re both fierce competitors, and we always want to win,” he added. “She is one of the biggest champions in our sport ever, men and women combined, so it is great to be playing against her.”
Local news billed the match as “Federer vs. Williams” and the Compton native called it “a dream come true.”
“I have been looking forward to it,”Williams told The New York Times. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so cool.’ So it’s just something that, as a player, is something that you would dream of, to play Roger Federer.”
She also expressed relief that her first time clashing with Federer is “not in singles.”
“Listen, if there’s one thing I’ve never worried about, it’s how I would match up against Roger — because I don’t think it would be very good,” Williams said, laughing. “Thankfully it’s something I don’t have to often think about. I’m just going to have fun tomorrow.”
Federer, representing Switzerland, topped Williams with a 4-2, 4-3 (3) victory over the United States. Both tennis legends had nothing but praise for each other after the match.
“What a pleasure. What an honor,” Federer said. “It was nerve-wracking, too. I thought, ‘I’ve got to win this point but it is Serena Williams.’
“People talk about her serve so much and I see why it is such a wonderful serve because you just can’t read it.”
“It was a great experience,” Williams said. “I’m sorry it had to finish; I was just warming up. It was such fun, we grew up together. It was super cool. I wanted to take pictures and bring my baby out.”
“This guy (Federer) is great, both off the court and on the court. I think his serve is super-underestimated. It’s a killer serve, you can’t read it. I watched him all the time and I never knew how amazing it was.”
Afterwards, the dynamic duo took a selfie together.
Earlier, Federer beat Williams’ playing partner Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-1 in the men’s singles before Williams leveled the tie with a comeback 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Belinda Bencic.
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