Tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal played an exhibition match in front of a record crowd of 51,954, the highest ever in a Tennis match, at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday.

The earlier record belonged to another exhibition match between Federer and Alexander Zverev in Mexico last November where 42,517 people had gathered.

According to the organisers, the game titled ‘Match in Africa’ has raised USD 3.5 million for the Roger Federer Foundation which runs sports, educational and athletic programmes for children in Africa.

“To have 51,954 people in attendance at a tennis match, I never thought I’d be apart of something like that. It’s not something you dream about,” Federer was quoted as saying by PTI via AFP.

The Swiss maestro won the match against his good friend and arch-rival Nadal 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 at the venue which was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Federer, who along with Nadal had to battle cool and windy conditions in the gigantic stadium, said his first appearance in South Africa was special.

Nadal was also excited after playing in front of the huge and ecstatic crowd who clapped, sang and did wave throughout the match to maintain a high and sound spirit. He called the evening an unforgetful one.

“It’s an amazing crowd, an amazing stadium. t’s an unforgettable evening. We will probably never play again in an atmosphere such as this one. I can’t thank enough the people here in Cape Town. They came here and created an unforgettable atmosphere,” the Spaniard said.

Earlier on the day, the crowd witnessed a doubles encounter as well when Federer partnered with billionaire Bill Gates to defeat the team of Nadal and South African comedian Trevor Noah.

The day was graced by the presence of many South African athletes including Springbok rugby captain Siya Kolisi, former captains John Smit and Jean de Villiers and Olympic swimmer Ryk Neethling.

The day marked the sixth edition of the event organised by the Roger Federer Foundation to raise money for the charity. Also, it was the first time that the event was held in South Africa.

“There’s so much anticipation that goes into it that the match itself almost gets forgotten. The time spent here as a kid was amazing. You would go on the road and you never come back for some reason because you’ve gotta chase that little tennis ball and you’ve gotta chase your dreams,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner said.