It’s been a dream come true for a 95-year old Upington grandmother when she was told that she would see her favourite tennis player Rafael Nadal live in action at the Cape Town Stadium this Friday (7 February 2020).
Nadal is set to take on his long-time rival Roger Federer in the Match in Africa 6 charity match for Federer’s foundation. It is said that they are hoping to raise more than $1 million (over R14 million) for the Roger Federer Foundation that supports early childhood education in six African countries and Switzerland.
The two tennis legends, who will be joined by The Daily Show host Trevor Noah and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, also want to break the world record for attendance at a tennis match.
A dream come true
Mama Lila, as she is called, said her dream was made possible by the Roger Federer Foundation, when her son in-law Riedewhan Davids wrote a letter telling them of her wish to see Nadal live in action. Davids said the family tried to buy tickets online but wasn’t successful in their efforts.
She was reportedly left devastated. Davids said his mother-in law thought her dream had become a reality after she heard Nadal was coming to Cape Town. A few family members had stood in line at Computicket when the tickets went on sale, he said.
“In spite of being online before 09:00, the opening time of the sales, and two of us on the phone trying to get through to Computicket, all was in vain as the tickets were sold out in 15 minutes. She was devastated, heartbroken and disappointed,” he explained in the letter reports IOL.
“As she was a tennis player in her much younger days she liked what she saw in the young man and has been following his progress ever since. It has always been her wish to see him in action.”
Computicket later contacted him to say that a wheelchair ticket was available for her and her assistant.
“Her reaction was indescribable. She was ecstatic. The best thing that happened in all her life, those were her words. She cried when she received the news. The family was so thankful after the initial disappointment.”
Mama Lila also said: “I’m very excited. I keep packing and unpacking. I keep wishing I could meet Nadal. I just wish he wins and I wish I could take a photo with him.”
“The first time I saw him play was about 12 years ago. He doesn’t just hit the ball, he plays tennis.”
Also read: Federer vs Nadal: Why their exhibition match in Cape Town is so special