Roger Federer Foundation: A Journey to the Future

I AM TOMORROW’S FUTURE”

Nolonwabo Batini, a 15-year-old girl from Ndzondelelo High School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, made this self-confident discovery when Roger visited her school. Her conviction became the vision and the central theme of the Roger Federer Foundation.

The Roger Federer Foundation enhances a world where children living in poverty are able to take control of their future and actively shape it. They wish to empower as many African children as possible through access to high-quality early learning and education.  They aim to further develop existing educational services and early support in a sustainable way. Although access to primary education has significantly increased in recent years, fundamental problems such as low classroom performance, poor attendance, high numbers of drop-outs and low school completion rates still persist, as well as a lack of early childhood education. The quality of early support and basic education is crucial as it is the foundation of all learning.

Roger established the Roger Federer Foundation in December, 2003. Since then, the objectives have been to support schooling, sports and play in locations where the necessary financial means are lacking or are insufficient. IMBEWU, a development project in South Africa, the home country of his mother, Lynette, was the first to be supported. Since May 2004, citing his close ties with South Africa, that is where his mother was raised, he started supporting the South Africa-Swiss charity IMBEWU which helps children better connect to sports and social and health awareness. Hence, in 2005, he visited South Africa to meet the children who had benefited from the support of his foundation.

Since the very beginning, the foundation has been working towards providing education and sports facilities to the disadvantaged children, around various countries in Africa like South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, also in Switzerland. He has promisingly raised money on occasions such as:

  • At the 2005 Pacific Life Open, he arranged an exhibition match involving top players from the ATP and WTA tour, which was called “Rally for Relief”. The proceeds went to the victims of the Tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. He became the first Swiss to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF in April 2006 and has appeared in UNICEF public messages to raise public awareness of AIDS as well. This was an involvement, best suited for his foundation. Hence, in December 2006, he visited Tamil Nadu, one of the areas in India most affected by the natural disaster, as both, an ambassador for UNICEF and his foundation. Later that year, he raised money to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina, as he auctioned his US Open racquet.
  • In 2010, when Haiti was hit by an earthquake, Federer, collaborated with fellow tennis players, and retired legends such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport, for a special charity match during the Australian Open, to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake. After two months, he also participated in a follow-up charity exhibition during thev2010 Indian Wells Masters which raised $1 million for the earthquake stricken victims in Haiti

  • Federer took part in an exhibition charity event on 16 January 2011, named Rally for Relief, to raise money for the victims of the Queensland floods. He, along with Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters, Novak Djokovic, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka, Vera Zvonareva, Caroline Wozniacki and Queenslanders Sam Stosur and Pat Rafter played a charity match at Rod Laver Arena to raise money for the flood efforts. Tickets to the event cost twenty dollars, and other events – such as an auction of shirts signed by the players – also took place. Queensland Energy Resources pledged to match the total amount of money raised. The event raised $1.8 million

The foundation organizes a charity match, between Federer and a top ranked player, whom Federer chooses himself. It is named as “Match for Africa” or MFA.

  • First MFA was held in on the Christmas Day in 2010, where Federer invited Rafael Nadal to play, in Zurich, and later went to Madrid, while the proceeds from both the charity matches went to the Roger Federer Foundation and to Nadal’s foundation, known as Fundación Rafa Nadal (Rafa Nadal Foundation), which he created in 2008.

  • In 2014, being back from the first season of IPTL in New Delhi, he played the “Match for Africa 2” between against his fellow Swiss compatriot, Stan Wawrinka, in Zurich. The charity event raised £850,000 for education projects in southern Africa. Federer said, “I was certain from the outset that only Stan Wawrinka came into consideration as guest and opponent and therefore I was very pleased when he accepted the invitation. But above all, I am grateful to him for sharing my passion for Africa and that he is helping to grant children in poverty a better future.”

  • The third Match for Africa was held again in Zurich. A perfect blend of world-class tennis and African rhythms on 10th April 2017 set the audience alight in the sold-out Hallenstadion. Federer and Andy Murray provided an extra-special exhibition night for the 11,000 spectators. The appearance of the 18-time Grand Slam champion and the current world number 1 helped raise 1.4 million Swiss Francs, which they passed on to the Roger Federer Foundation.

  • The MFA4 (Match for Africa 4) will be held in Seattle today, as Federer will play John Isner, in the best of 3 sets. Another match will be played, which will be a doubles match; for which Bill Gates will partner Roger Federer, and John Isner is yet to reveal the name of the celebrity who will partner him for the match, and this match will be played for a set. Microsoft Corporation is a proud sponsor of this event. The match will be held in KeyArena, in Seattle, WA. The match will begin at 5:30 pm PT, Seattle time, i.e. 00:30 am GMT.

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