Rafael Nadal trumped Roger Federer when the two met for an exhibition match on Tuesday, one of the warm up matches before the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells. The match was light, none of the intensity that was often seen in their matches but both players were clearly in good spirits.
“We’ve had many big battles over the years and also had some wonderful moments in exhibition play,” Federer said, referring to his numerous matches with Nadal. “We’ve played in some amazing places and this is obviously very special doing it for Nike in a place that means a lot to MPhil. We’re very happy to be here tonight.”
The appearance of surprise guest John McEnroe added to the crowd’s enthusiasm. McEnroe walked in during the pre game introductions before taking the umpire’s chair for the mixed doubles match.
“I never thought I’d stoop this low,” McEnroe jokingly said. The tennis veteran is known for his infamous spats with court umpires during his long career. It wasn’t long before he was on the court, pairing up with Sharapova.
The matches were held at the Matthew Knight Arena, which was built with the help of Nike co-founder Phil Knight. The arena was packed with over 12000 spectators, who gave the players a rock star’s welcome as they made their way to the arena floor.