Perth - The Hopman Cup might have saved its best for last as
excitement builds for the most anticipated tennis match involving a man and
woman since the "Battle of the Sexes" in the 1970s.
Roger Federer and Serena Williams, two of the greatest
players in history, will face off across the net for the first time on Tuesday
when United States go up against defending champions Switzerland in the mixed
doubles of the unique two-player, mixed teams event.
This year's tournament is expected to be Perth's final
Hopman Cup and Tuesday's group tie is an early sellout on the back of the
prospect of seeing two of the all-time greats, with 43 Grand Slam singles
titles between them, on the same court.
"It is very exciting for both of us and I hope a lot of
tennis fans tune in and watch it," said Federer after opening his Hopman
Cup campaign with an easy singles win on Sunday.
"I admire everything she's done on and off the court,
we are both fierce competitors and we always want to win," added the
20-time Grand Slam champion of the once-in-a-lifetime match.
"It is going to be one time, probably never again. She
is one of the biggest champions in our sport ever, men and women combined, so
it is great to be playing against her."
The original "Battle of the Sexes" saw Billie Jean
King beat Bobby Riggs in an exhibition singles match in 1973.
Federer said he had plenty of experience playing against
women, going back to his days as a teenage tour hopeful in Switzerland.
Despite their long concurrent careers and having attended a
few Wimbledon champion dinners together, Federer said the pair barely knew each
"I don't know her that well," he said.
"In the corridors and cafes, walking by each other,
sometimes in the past she has asked me how are the kiddies and how is everyone
doing, but if I said I know her it would be a bit of an exaggeration."
Williams has said in a television interview that she was
looking forward to getting a picture with Federer for her Instagram page.
"It is the age of social media," said Federer,
with a grin.