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Roger: Rafa Cried For Me

Rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have shared laughter and shed tears throughout their iconic rivalry.

Today, Roger revealed Rafa shed tears of joy on his behalf when the Swiss won the 2009 Roland Garros to complete the career Grand Slam.

More: Federer, Nadal Renew Rivalry

"He's a great person with great values; he has a great family," Federer said of Nadal before their Match In Africa 6 charity exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa. "My family, his family respect each other immensely.

"He told me today he cried when I won my French Open in 2009 he was so happy for me."

The 38-year-old Federer celebrated a homecoming of sorts playing his first match in South Africa, home nation of his mother, Lynette Federer.

Nineteen-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, who recalled two prior playing trips to South Africa, could match Federer's Grand Slam record of 20 major titles by defending his Roland Garros crown this spring.

Grand Slam king Federer joked the beauty of facing Nadal in an exo: they can take a breather in the major race and celebrate the surreal and stirring history they've created together.  

"The good thing about tonight is like he cannot catch me," Federer said with a smile. "I'm very relaxed. Honestly, what [Rafa] has achieved in his career or Novak for that matter what I've done myself as well I think we’re all so very happy with our career that exceeded all our expectation.

"In my dreams, I never dreamed this. I hoped to win one Wimbledon and I did more so if he catches me it's okay."

Prior to the marquee singles showdown, Federer and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates or "Gateserer" as the Swiss calls him, partnered to defeat Nadal and comedian and South African Trevor Noah, 6-3, with both teams showing Bryan brothers style sense wearing matching oufits. 

Proceeds from Match In Africa 6 will benefit the Roger Federer Foundation which funds educational efforts for kids in South Africa. The Roger Federer Foundation has raised contributed more than $52 million supporting educational and charitable causes.

Nadal, who heads his own Rafa Nadal Foundation which funds education and sports programs for children, said the rivals who have poured themselves into the sport with passion can continue to use their rivalry as an engine powering positive causes for the next generation.

"I think it's just about giving back in some way and creating positive examples for the other people," Nadal said on court. "I think we have been very lucky people to have a great life. In the world there is a lot of people that suffers a lot. For me personally, I always love being with young people.

"With kids we take care of kids we work on trying to give them opportunities through sport, in this case tennis, and we work hard to increase the number of young people we can help year by year. I tink being together for these causes we can achieve big things like tonight. So I’m super happy to share this great moment with him.

"Thanks to Roger for thinking I am the right one to be part of this unforgettable event. [We] just try to have fun and create the show everyone expects."

Photo credit:Laver Cup