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Federer, Tsonga Raise More Than $1m

Melbourne, Australia

Players© Getty ImagesPat Rafter, Tony Roche, Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lleyton Hewitt starred in the exhibition.

More than $1 million was raised as Roger Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a host of Australian tennis stars put on a captivating performance on Wednesday evening in Melbourne in aid of the Roger Federer Foundation.

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On a packed Rod Laver Arena, four-time Australian Open champion Federer defeated 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 in an exhibition match lasting just over two hours. The Swiss had started the evening with a hit against Rod Laver, before the Australian took his seat courtside.

Last week’s Brisbane International champion, Lleyton Hewitt, Davis Cup captain Patrick Rafter and Federer’s former coach, Tony Roche, all contributed to the evening at Melbourne Park.

Watch Federer & Laver Warm-Up

“What a pleasure to play any match here, in particular a match for a good cause,” said Federer. “I played some of the biggest matches of my career right here. It’s very special being back. It was a dream come true to play some balls with Rod Laver, spend some time with him, speak with him.

“The most important thing tonight was to enjoy it, have fun with Jo and get into the mood of the Australian Open. It's a pleasure playing the Australian Open. I’ve been coming for nearly 15 years. This was perfect preparation, but so much more tonight.”

“I’m really pleased to be here tonight,” said Tsonga, speaking to Hewitt. “To help Roger is always an honour. I played well. It was a good match tonight. It’s always tough to play against Roger. It’s great to be here tonight for a great cause.”

The Roger Federer Foundation was set up in 2003, fulfilling one of Federer's long-held dreams of becoming social aware. The Foundation has helped over 50,000 children annually living in poverty to access high quality early learning and education. 

“It's something very close to my heart, I’m very emotionally attached,” said Federer. “To reach 10 years is a great deal. I’m happy I started so early. I learnt a lot at the beginning of my career, I met influential people who taught me great things. I really feel we’re still at the beginning. We can achieve great things. We hope to reach one million kids by 2018 and an event like this is going to help in a big way.”

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