Tennis greats ‘love’ their court catch-up in Perth
Roger Federer showed classic form as Switzerland motored in mixed doubles, with the celebrated Hopman Cup showdown against fellow notable Serena Williams ending as a 4-2, 4-3(3) win over the American side.
The pair of champions ended an unprecedented evening with a selfie on court, a task broadcast live around the world.
“I enjoyed playing against Serena, what a pleasure, what an honour,” Federer said. “It was entertaining, the spectators made it very electric.
“I can see whey she has such a wonderful serve, you can’t read it. You can see how determined and focussed she is.”
Added Williams: “Roger is the greatest of all time, to be honest, he has such charisma on and off the court – he also has a killer serve.
“It was a great experience to play, I’m sorta sad it’s over. We grew up together and to have an opportunity to play after all these years is great.
“It was super-cool to do it at the pinnacle points of our careers.”
Australian television and tournament PR powers made sure they hyped the hit-and-giggle at the Perth arena almost to the level of a Grand Slam final; Federer and partner Belinda Bencic ended the evening with a 2-1 win over Williams and Frances Tiafoe.
Federer played to the crowd, suggesting that the contest would be something of a challenge for him as he faced the best of the women’s world for the first time – even in a non-official match.
Once on court, the 20-time Grand Slam champion was all business, laying on his best game to lead his side to victory in front of 14,000.
The win puts the Swiss well on the way into a third straight final with a perfect 2-0 group record and one more tie to go on Thursday against Greece.
The match was good-natured on both sides, with each man faking “injury” and falling in a heap after being accidentally struck by errant returns – Tiefoe on the back, Federer on the right ear.
The contest ended on a reduced tiebreak used in the competition, with Federer serving out the victory.