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Before seeing Roger Federer, Maradona was kissing his pictures in the tunnel: Photographer recalls meeting between legendary duo

Roger Federer (L) and Diego Maradona meeting at the ATP Finals in 2009.
Roger Federer (L) and Diego Maradona meeting at the ATP Finals in 2009.
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 27 Nov 2020, 18:40 IST
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Following the death of Diego Maradona, Jorge Ferrari, a UAE-based photographer, has detailed his experiences with the Argentine. Ferrari revealed that Maradona was very fond of tennis, and in particular of arguably its biggest superstar - Roger Federer.

The photographer happened to be present when Maradona met the Swiss maestro at the 2013 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. And Ferrari claimed that his childhood idol and compatriot displayed a child-like admiration towards Roger Federer during the meeting.

"He came to watch Roger Federer. At the end of the match, Maradona wanted to meet Federer," said Ferrari. "So we went with him through the Dubai Stadium tunnel, which has all the pictures of the tournament champions and he kept stopping and kissing the Federer pictures."

Diego Maradona was really in awe of Roger Federer: Ferrari on their meeting in Dubai in 2013

Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Maradona was a massive fan of the 20-time Grand Slam champion, according to Ferrari. The photographer also revealed that the footballing legend had often expressed his desire to meet Federer, and upon doing so, was in complete awe of the man.

"When Federer eventually arrived there after the end of his match, Maradona was nearly crying. He hugged and kissed him," said Ferrari. "Maradona was really in awe of Federer. It was not like people like us meeting Federer, you know. It was Maradona meeting Federer. But he was super excited like he was some little kid meeting his idol."

The tennis world has been mourning the loss of Diego Maradona over the last few days, with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman paying homage to the legend on social media. Schwartzman, an Argentine himself, recently claimed that his parents named him after the 1986 World Cup winner.

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Roger Federer is yet to comment or pay tribute to Maradona so far, despite having met the Argentine legend on various occasions. However, videos and pictures of his meetings with Maradona have been doing the rounds on social media the past few days - particularly his emotional reaction to Maradona's message during an exhibition match at Buenos Aires in 2019:

Published 27 Nov 2020, 18:15 IST
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