Perth: Roger Federer won the bragging rights over fellow tennis great Serena Williams as they faced each other in an historic clash for the first time.
Federer and Williams have won 43 Grand Slam singles titles between them, but it was the 20-time Grand Slam champion who spearheaded Switzerland’s 4-2 4-3 (5-3) victory over the United States in a mixed-doubles decider at the Hopman Cup.
Federer and his playing partner Belinda Bencic overcame Williams and Frances Tiafoe in the Fast4 format in front of a 14,000-capacity crowd in Perth.
“It was great fun. What a pleasure. What an honour. Thank you for making it possible,” said Federer, who is gearing up to defend his Australian Open title this month.
“I was nervous returning. People talk about her serve so much and I see why it is such a wonderful serve because you just can’t read it.”
Serena said the match, which was full of laughter and had an exhibition feel to it, was a “great experience” and one she hoped would not end as quickly as it did.
“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,” she said.
“This guy 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.”
Earlier, Federer beat Tiafoe 6-4 6-1 in the men’s singles before Williams levelled the tie with a comeback 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory over Bencic.
Defending champions Switzerland have two wins from two games ahead of Thursday’s meeting with Greece, while the United States take on Great Britain next.