Match for Africa, a charity event where tennis professionals team with celebrities to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation, had its fourth tennis match yesterday in Seattle, Washington. Saturday’s competition featured tennis star Roger Federer and Microsoft’s billionaire founder Bill Gates playing against tennis pro John Isner and celebrated Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready.
“This is a dream come true…,” Bill Gates wrote on his Facebook page, as reported by Forbes. “I’m a huge fan of Roger Federer’s work on and off the court, and this Saturday I’ll get to play a match alongside him.”
In front of the 16,000-member Match for Africa audience, Federer and Gates took the win, with a final score of six to four. Afterward, Federer competed against Isner in two single-play matches. Federer walked away a winner in the first, with a final five to two score. Federer also came out on top in the second match with a seven to six win.
Match for Africa is a tennis exhibition event that raises money for the Roger Federer Foundation. Created 12 years ago, the organization’s mission is to support education projects in southern Africa. Saturday night’s event, held in Seattle’s KeyArena, fetched nearly $2 million for the foundation. Since its beginning, the foundation has raised $40 million and has helped nearly 277,000 children.
Federer came up with the Match for Africa fundraising idea while visiting New York City last year. The 35-year-old Swiss tennis pro contacted Tony Godsick, president of Federer’s management company known as TEAM8, for assistance in finding an arena that could hold the charity event.
After weeks of searching for a suitable venue, Seattle was the final choice for the Match for Africa series of tennis matches. Godsick reached out to Bill Gates, a longtime resident of Washington, for help.
“Roger and I met with Bill Gates and his team to see if they would help us open the doors in Seattle, support us in the community and even play some celebrity doubles,” Godsick said, per the Forbes article. “Bill said yes right away and was just so welcoming and helpful.”
Bill Gates is a well-known philanthropist and has donated over $30 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization that works to fight the scourges of hunger, poverty, and disease. The Microsoft founder formed the organization with his wife, Melinda, in 2000 and has since given nearly $35 billion toward different projects.
While Bill Gates may be busy supporting his and other charities, his net worth has not suffered. According to a recent CNN Money report, Gates remains the wealthiest person in the world, a title he initially gained in 1995. On Friday, Microsoft stock price was up after the tech company revealed a confident earnings report, putting Gates’ net worth at $87 billion.
However, the Microsoft mogul may lose the world’s richest person designation to another tech tycoon, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. After a releasing a strong earnings and sales report from the online retail giant, the company’s share price gained 0.7 percent at Friday’s close of business. This small, yet significant bump put Bezos’ personal fortune over $80 billion. Even though the CEO only needs slightly more than $7 billion to catch up to Bill Gates’ net worth, he remains behind the world’s second wealthiest person, Zara founder Amancio Ortega.
Financial experts predict Bill Gates’ net worth could one day surpass $1 trillion. Oxfam, an international conglomerate focused on defeating poverty, anticipates the world’s first trillionaire is likely to emerge within the next 25 years. Should Gates attain this status, he will be 86-years-old.
With Bill Gates’ net worth continuing to climb, charities and fundraising exhibitions like Match for Africa will certainly benefit for years to come. Although it is possible, it is probably not likely we’ll see an 86-year-old Bill Gates playing tennis in future, however.
[Featured Image by Axel Schmidt – Pool/Getty Images]