in partnership
Possibly the most powerful doubles partners EVER. (Image: ATP/

Tech & tennis titans team up for charity match in Seattle

It's 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, and I'm going about my normal routine of waking up, brushing my teeth, making coffee, and trying to stuff as much tennis knowledge into my brain as possible.

Ok, so that last part isn't normal - but it is what happens when you get the (semi-last minute) chance to interview one of the greatest tennis players of all time: Roger Federer.

Even if you don't know anything about tennis (raised hand here), you know the name. The 35-year-old athlete, among other things, currently holds the record for most Grand Slam men's singles Championships with 18 titles AND has been in 28 finals. His recent win against Rafael Nadal in five sets at the 2017 Australian Open rocketed Federer back into the game (pun attended) after a slower couple of years - it was his first major title since 2012 Wimbledon.

See? I can do my homework when I need to. But now may be the part where you're wondering why on earth lil' ole Seattle Refined was talking to this majestic human being.

It's simple, really. And by simple we mean hilarious, amazing, wonderful and exciting. Federer is coming to Seattle on April 29 for Match 4 Africa, a charity event benefitting his foundation. That alone is enough to get PNW tennis lovers shaking in their whites, but WAIT. There's more.

Federer will be teaming up with Bill Gates for a doubles match against John Isner and a yet-to-be-named celebrity guest.

Mic drop. This is the fourth Match for Africa event Federer has thrown, having just finished one last week against Andy Murray in Zurich. That event alone raised over $1.5 million dollars, bringing the total investment the Roger Federer Foundation has made towards educational programs in Africa and Switzerland to over $28.5 million since it was founded in 2003.

Let us be the ones to ask the question you're probably thinking - Bill Gates?! Huh?! It's simple, really. Federer was chatting with his agent one day about wanting to hold an exhibition match for the charity somewhere in America, and they started pouring over the list of available arenas.

"We looked at Key Arena," said Federer. "And I thought 'Well, I know that Bill Gates is a huge tennis fan. Maybe we can get him involved in some shape or form.'"

He thought correctly. Gates jumped at the idea, and in a few short months they had put together a plan, a team, got sponsors like Nike, Starbucks, Microsoft and Rolex involved, and even made a fun little spot to promote the event.

"I'm super happy how it happened so quickly," said Federer. "We took a chance, but it seemed to work."

The duo of Gates - a notorious tennis fan - and Federer, the embodiment of tennis itself, should provide for some wonderful entertainment.

"I actually have never seen him play," said Federer of his future doubles partner. "I've heard he sometimes plays six hours in a row, which I've never done before. So he can grind it out."

The two have only met once in person, at Indian Wells earlier this year when they filmed their promotional video.

"I don't know how good he is at closing points," he said. "I hope he is, otherwise I'll give him some tips the day before."

But Federer won't be the only one handing out advice. This is, after all, a charity event - something the Gates family are extremely familiar with.

"[He's] the Godfather of all charities," the tennis pro said. "I think it's going to be a great learning experience for me to spend more time with him there."

As of this posting, there are about 500 tickets left to the late April event, starting at around $250 each.

"I'm really excited to come to Seattle for the first time," said Federer. "And I’m really appreciative of all the fans coming in and in such a short time really, buying tickets and supporting the Roger Federer Foundation."

Match 4 Africa is taking place April 29th at 5:30 p.m. at the Key Arena. Tickets and more information can be found online.