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Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic join hands with Guga Kuerten in fight against COVID-19

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Sohinee Basu
Modified 22 May 2020

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have come on-board the Winning Together campaign initiated by Brazilian sports personalities to raise funds for those affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The aim of the initiative is to raise $10 million to combat hunger in Brazil, which it hopes to achieve through donations from all over the world. A star-studded show announcing the details of the “Vencendo Juntos” program will be aired on 23 May on SporTV.

The show will see both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic make appearances, along with a host of other celebrities.

Roger Federer is known for his philanthropic side, and has already lent plenty of support to his fellow countrymen during this time of crisis. His foundation has also helped feed families in Africa that have been affected by the pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns.

It was Gustavo Kuerten who had requested Roger Federer to join the campaign and help nearly 33,000 Brazilian families struggling to deal with the pandemic. And the 20-time Grand Slam Champion did not hesitate for a second before responding to his friend and former World No. 1.

Roger Federer and Guga Kuerten share quite the history. Federer remembers the Brazilian fondly as someone who gave him positive encouragement during his early years on the pro circuit.

Roger Federer, who encountered Kuerten thrice on the court, defeated the three-time French Open champion in their very first meeting - at the Hamburg Masters in 2002.

Roger Federer with his old friend, Gustavo Kuerten
Roger Federer with his old friend, Gustavo Kuerten

The duo have shared a wonderful bond ever since. Only recently, Guga had asked Federer to come down to Brazil and play doubles with him, to which the Swiss Maestro responded in the affirmative.


Guga has always been one of my favorite players: Roger Federer

Heeding Kuerten's request to join the Winning Together campaign, Federer said, "If Guga calls, I am always there to help." Grounded in his hometown in Basel, Federer instantly agreed to join hands with the Brazilian in the fight against the pandemic.

"You have always been one of my favorite players," Federer said. "You have always been one of the most receptive players on the circuit. Maybe you don't remember why you were nice to everyone, but you were also nice to me. And I think that was so important, when I was arriving at the circuit. You were one of the guys who made me feel welcome. So, thanks Guga. That's why I'm here and very happy to help."

The coronavirus outbreak has put the entire world under the same microscope, by inflicting a common problem on a global scale. The only way for humanity to come out of this crisis is to unite and fight the battle together - a sentiment shared by Roger Federer.

"I think the most interesting thing about this moment is that we are doing things together," the Swiss said. "Usually, you have a problem that is in a country or even on a continent, in certain places. But now the whole world is involved in this pandemic and virus problem.
"I think that regardless of whether you are from Brazil or Switzerland, we will share similar problems. I hope that people in Brazil will be affected as little as possible with the virus. And also that everyone can, together, find a way to go through this because it is not easy," Federer added.
Published 22 May 2020, 03:47 IST
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