Serena Williams, Roger Federer will face each other for first time in their careers

They’re two of the greatest tennis players of all time. They’re the only two in the Open Era with at least 20 Grand Slam titles.

Serena Williams boasts 23 and is celebrating the close of a special year. Roger Federer has 20 titles, a mark he reached in 2018.

And now they’ll meet for the first time in their storied careers when they face off in a Hopman Cup exhibition mixed doubles match on New Year’s Day in Australia.

Williams and Federer, both 37, have shared the court when winning Grand Slam titles on the same weekend eight times, most recently in 2017. They’ve also played together in a 2010 exhibition match raising money for Haiti, but have never been on opposing sides of the net.

The match-up comes courtesy of the Hopman Cup, where eight teams representing their countries play in a round-robin format. There are two groups of four and nations play two singles and a mixed doubles match. The winners of each group play in Saturday’s final.

“I’ve been looking forward to it since I saw it,” Williams said, per the New York Times. “I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so cool.’ So it’s just something that, as a player, is something that you would dream of, to play Roger Federer.”

15 PHOTOS
Serena Williams in 2018
See Gallery
Serena Williams in 2018
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 19: Serena Williams is seen at the 2018 Miami Open Hard Rock Stadium Ground Breaking Ceremony at Hard Rock Stadium on March 19, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 12: Venus Williams and Serena Williams pose for a photo before their match against each other during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 10: Serena Williams ( USA ) hits a backhand the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on March 10, 2018, at the Indian Wells Tennis Gardens in Indian Wells, CA. (Photo by Adam Davis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
INDIAN WELLS, CA - MARCH 08: Serena Williams leaves the court after defeating Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 8, 2018 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Serena Williams of the United States in action during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 5: Venus Williams of the United States and her sister Serena Williams of the United States during the Tie Break Tens Tennis Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
LA QUINTA, CA - MARCH 06: Serena Williams attends 14th Annual Desert Smash Celebrity Tennis Event on March 6, 2018 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Kelly Howard)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her match against Shuai Zhang of China during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: The United States Women's Olympic hockey team poses with their gold medals and tennis champions Serena Williams anf Venus Williams during the Tie Break Tens at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Serena Williams of Team USA reacts after a shot to Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands during a doubles match in the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 11, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 10: Serena Williams of Team USA, bottom left, along with her husband Alexis Ohanian and their daughter Alexis Olympia, center, watch the action during the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 10, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States in action during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30 : Serena Williams of United States is seen after her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER 30: Serena Williams of United States smiles during her Ladies Final match against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia on day three of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship at International Tennis Centre Zayed Sports City on December 30, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Williams will play with Frances Tiafoe, representing the United States. The U.S. lost to Greece on Monday, though Williams won her singles match.

Federer will play with Belinda Bencic for Switzerland. The Swiss duo is the defending champion and opened the tournament with a win over Britain.

Federer said it’s exciting for both of them to participate in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

From the New York Times:

“We’re both fierce competitors and we always want to win. We try our best.”

The match will be played as “Fast 4,” an abbreviated Tennis Australia format with sets played to four games, no ad-scoring and a nine-point tiebreak at 3-all.

Williams and Federer have each won the tournament twice, but never competed in the same year.

More from Yahoo Sports:
NFL star’s record broken an hour after he sets it
Steelers, fans get first-hand look at heartbreaking play
Redskins player takes pettiness to an all-new level
Black Monday: Tracking NFL’s head coaches fired

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.