Roger Federer will play alongside Bill Gates in a charity exhibition match later this month, it has been confirmed. The 18-time tennis Grand Slam champion will team up with the billionaire Microsoft co-founder, noted philanthropist and Emerald City native for a doubles clash at the Match for Africa 4 Seattle event at KeyArenaon 29 April.
The unlikely duo will go head-to-head with John Isner and a celebrity partner whose identity has yet to be announced. Federer and the American world number 23 are also set to meet in a best of three set singles contest, with proceeds going to the Roger Federer Foundation. The charity supports educational projects in both southern Africa and Switzerland.
After a six-month hiatus caused by persistent knee trouble, Federer has enjoyed an impressive resurgence in 2017 while rekindling his old rivalry with Rafael Nadal.
Having outlasted the Spaniard to snatch his fifth Australian Open title in January, he also thrashed him in a fourth-round match at Indian Wells en route to winning the BNP Paribas Open.
After getting the better of Nadal once again during last weekend's Miami Open final to claim his third title of the year already, Federer is now expected to miss the majority of the clay-court season and take a near two-month break before returning to action at the French Open starting on 28 May.
"I'm not 24 anymore, so things have changed in a big way and I probably won't play any clay court events except the French," the 35-year-old said. "That is what it is going to look like. I need rest, my body needs healing and I need time as well to prepare. You will probably see me at the French.
"I want to stay healthy and enjoy myself because – when I am healthy and feeling good – I can produce tennis like this. When I am not feeling this good, there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa. That is why this break coming now in the clay court season and focusing everything now on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that, is going to be the key for me."