Battle for the Ages: Federer Trumps Serena in New Year’s Day Epic
43 Grand Slam crowns. 171 tour-level titles. Over $200 million in career prize earnings between them.
The New Year couldn’t be off to a more legendary start for the world of sport, and the world can be forgiven for almost not noticing there were two players on the court.
But Roger Federer, the ‘less’ decorated of the two headliners in terms of major titles, triumphed over Serena Williams in an all-star battle for the ages at the Hopman Cup to kick-start 2019.
Federer and Belinda Bencic were victorious by a margin of 4-2, 4-3 against the American pairing of Williams and Frances Tiafoe, as Switzerland took the ascendancy in Group B at the annual official international mixed team tennis event of the ITF in Perth, Australia.
A Record-Breaking 1 Jan Cracker
Williams can be credited with keeping the tie relevant – the 23-time Grand Slam champion defeated Bencic in the women’s singles rubber to ensure the contest was alive coming into the mixed doubles following Federer’s win against Tiafoe in the opening men’s rubber. Not that the thousands thronging to the RAC Arena would have been affected by how ‘alive’ the tie was.
The greater record, arguably, could be broken a single click at the end of the clash. Buoyed by their on-court interviewer and a fervent audience, Williams and Federer got together to take a selfie – dubbed, quite aptly, as the ‘greatest selfie of all time’ by the Hopman Cup organisers.
The iconic duo had earlier had the kindest of words for each other as they spoke together after the customary on-court interview of the winning team.
Away from the spectacular quotient of a clash between two of the greatest stars ever seen by world sport, the tie put Switzerland closer to a berth in the finals. The Swiss, having earlier started their Hopman Cup campaign with a victory over Great Britain, lead Group B going into their deciding third fixture against Greece.
USA are bottom of the table, and the only team to have lost both their ties.
The group winners will go into the finals, where they will meet the table-toppers from Group A – featuring Germany, Australia, France and Spain.