The top male and female tennis players in the world will face off for the first time ever in a highly anticipated match in Australia.
Serena Williams and Roger Federer, both 37, will play against each other for the first time on New Year’s Day, but won’t be alone on the court.
They’ll be part of a mixed doubles match. Federer will partner with Belinda Bencic while Williams will pair with Frances Tiafoe.
The match is part of the Hopman Cup. Federer and Bencic are representing Switzerland while Williams and Tiafoe are representing the United States.
“It’s very exciting for both of us. I hope a lot of tennis fans will tune in to watch the match because it’s going to be one time and probably never again in this kind of a competition,” Federer told reporters ahead of the match, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I admire everything she’s done on and off the court. We can relate to one another now even more so for being parents. “I’ve played with some of the greatest doubles players in the world in Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis, and I’ve also played against some of the best in Venus [Williams] and other great ones in the past. “This time it’s against Serena, who is one of the biggest champions ever in our sport—men and women combined.”
Federer holds 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in men’s history, while Williams holds 23 such titles, second-most all-time to Margaret Court’s 24.
Williams said that she’s excited to play in Perth and face Federer for the first time.
“I’m excited to go to Perth. It’s been a while since I’ve been there,” she said, reported Tennis Magazine. “You know, I’ve been training in the off-season to be ready for Roger. I’m not sure how I’m going to do, but we’ll see.”
Both stars are using the Hopman Cup as the final preparation before the upcoming Australian Open, which Federer has won six times, including 2017 and 2018, and Williams has won seven times, including 2017.
At the Hopman Cup, they were also playing in the singles tournament.
Both stars will play each other’s partner on Tuesday prior to the mixed doubles match. Federer will play Tiafoe in the first of the night session games, starting at 5:30 p.m. local time (4:30 a.m. EDT), while Williams will take on Bencic immediately after.
The four will then play in the doubles game to cap off the evening. The game is available on some television stations and online through Eurosport Player, which has day passes available for around $5.
Federer and Bencic, 21, are in Group B along with Williams and Tiafoe, 20.
The American team lost their first match, to Greece, 2-1 while the Swiss team won their first match against Great Britain 2-0. The tournament is round robin.