Roger Federer returns to the court stateside on Monday night, as the Swiss faces American Jack Sock in Match for Africa 5.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion is in Silicon Valley to raise charitable funds for the Roger Federer Foundation and will face the World No.10 under lights in a three-set exhibition at the SAP Center in San Jose.
Federer will also partner Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in a unique doubles match against Sock and Savannah Guthrie, co-host of the NBC Today Show.
It is the fifth event Federer and his team have laid on to support children’s education in Africa, and it follows last year’s successful charity match in Seattle.
Before taking to the court, the 36-year-old revealed a new set of Air Max 95s. Pretty swish!
The match will be streamed live on Federer’s Facebook page, with proceedings set to get underway at 7am UAE time on Tuesday morning.
Having reclaimed the World No1 ranking last month, Federer is due in action in Indian Wells this week.
The 36-year-old became the most decorated person in the awards’ history as he beat fellow nominees Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo and British trio Chris Froome, Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton to claim the sportsman of the year prize.
The Swiss recovered from back and knee problems in 2016 to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles the following year, with Nadal, five years younger than Federer, battling back from his own injury issues to claim the other two Grand Slams.
Upon receiving his sportsman of the year award from Martina Navratilova, an emotional Federer said: “To my rival Rafa, I wanted to just give a shout-out to him.
“He had an unbelievable year himself. We had a great battle and it’s because of a guy like him, I feel like I’ve become a better player as well.
“He could very well be here as well and standing here with this award. He’s an incredible player, incredible friend, an incredible athlete.”
Federer expanded on his relationship with Nadal at a press conference after the event, adding: “All the matches that you’ve played against one another, they sort of connect you to some extent.
“When you lose against a guy 9-7 in the fifth (set) or you win 9-7 in the fifth, it leaves something special there for everyone.
“Whenever you walk past a guy, you know there was a match that really shaped your character maybe as well.”
— #Laureus18 (@LaureusSport) February 27, 2018
The Swiss, who at one point was asked to “confess a flaw” to prove he was not perfect, did concede surprise at the level he has been able to return to.
However, the 20-time grand slam champion also revealed the constant questions he has faced about possible retirement for nearly a decade have driven him on.
“It’s like a hammer banging at the door, eventually you feel like it’s going to break through,” he added.
“You have to hold back the door and just not let that come to you. I think it’s made me extremely resilient and strong, having to answer all these questions.
“I think this has been a big challenge for me, just not letting that get to my head and truly listening to myself and my team. Can I actually still win? As long as I believe truly I can still win, then I believe it was worth it to come back. That’s the feeling I had. I feel like I never really let that (negativity) come to me.
“It’s been wonderful – not to prove people wrong, but just to prove myself and my team right.”
Fellow tennis star Serena Williams won her fifth statuette by being named the sportswoman of the year, while Formula One team Mercedes, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Totti, JJ Watt and Edwin Moses also picked up prizes.
– The Laureus World Sports Awards highlight sporting excellence and recognise those who use sport to change lives for the better. For more information, head to www.laureus.com/awards
The Swiss, who earlier this week confirmed his return to the top of the ATP world rankings at the age of 36, breezed past his Bulgarian opponent 6-2 6-2 on the way to his 97th tour-level trophy.
Federer told www.atpworldtour.com: “It’s definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life. It’s unbelievable to get my 97th title and get back to world number one. It’s very special.
“I was expecting it to be tough today. Grigor is a great player and a great athlete and he’s been playing super well in recent months.
“I thought that this wasn’t going to be the result, but he looked to be struggling a bit and I never looked back. I was able to execute my tennis the way I wanted to. I’m very happy.”
Federer, who had previously won in the Dutch city in 2005 and 2012, assumed control after breaking in the fifth game in front of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands as Dimitrov made 13 unforced errors in the first set.
An immediate break in the second set him on the road to a comfortable victory and 401,580 Euros – around £355,385 – prize money inside an hour.
Dimitrov, who had not dropped a set on his way to the final, was far from at his best, but left with a cheque for 196,875 Euros, or £174,228.