Serena Williams, Roger Federer to play each other for the first time on New Year's Day

For the first time in their decades-long tennis careers, Serena Williams and Roger Federer will play each other on New Year's Day.

Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Williams has won 23. Federer has 99 career titles. Williams has 72. Federer has five US Open championships. Williams has six.

But Tuesday will mark the first time either of the superstars has ever taken the court in competition with the other.

As the New York Times reported, Federer and Williams will go head-to-head in a mixed doubles match between Switzerland and the United States as part of the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia on Tuesday. The two once played on the same team at an exhibition match in 2010 and have taken the court on the same weekend eight other times, including in 2017, but never have actually squared off across the net from each other.

"I've been looking forward to it since I saw it," Williams said, per the 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."

Federer echoed Williams' excitement, assuring fans the two sides will be playing to win -- and that such a competition might only come around once in their careers.

"It's very exciting for both of us," he said. "I hope that a lot of tennis fans are going to tune in and watch it, because it's going to be one time and probably never again, in this kind of a competition. We're both fierce competitors, and we always want to win. We try our best."

Federer and Williams, of course, won't be the only players on the court in a mixed doubles match. But, as the Times noted, Australia's Channel 9 and Tennis Channel have embraced the star power of the contest, deeming the match "Federer vs. Williams" in promotions for the Hopman Cup.

Williams, 37, is fresh off a 2018 season that saw her return to the court after the September 2017 birth of her daughter, withdraw from the French Open due to an injury, advance to the Wimbledon finals and then finish runner-up at the US Open, where she had a public feud with umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for 2018 last week.

Federer, also 37, repeated as the Australian Open champion in 2018, defending his 2017 men's singles title for a 20th career Grand Slam.

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