20-time Major winner Roger Federer is not only one of the greatest men's singles tennis players of all time, but also one of the greatest sportsmen of all time. Adored like Ali and looked up to like MJ, Federer has enthralled the whole world for over two decades now with his elegant game and level-headed personality.
But it's just not the commoners who fall head over heels for the Maestro. The Swiss has also come to be idolized by his fellow sportsmen, and many of them claim he is the best player in the history of the game.
We can count football player Toni Kroos among Federer's fans too. The Real Madrid and Germany star recently talked about his first meeting with Roger Federer in 2015, and how supporting the Fed Express has had its ups and downs over the years.
Appearing on the German podcast "Einfach mal Luppen", Toni Kroos reiterated that for him Roger Federer is possibly the greatest sportsman of all time.
"Roger Federer teaches everyone to be themselves" - Toni Kroos
Kroos stated that he is inspired by a lot of sportsmen, but it is Roger Federer that he is the biggest fan of. And it is not just Federer's game for which Kroos idolizes the Swiss; he also admires his attitude towards life.
"Roger teaches everyone to be themselves. Today, he has a lot of players trying to emulate him, just as in my sport," Toni Kroos said.
The German then narrated the first instance when he met Roger Federer, at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.
"It was special to me, it was the first time I met Roger Federer. I have to honestly say I forgot myself, I forgot Toni Kroos, because I was really a bit nervous. That was always one of the things. I was happy at first, not that it was not nice. I was looking forward to it because I thought he was relatively closer to me. Like a preview of the meeting for me," Kroos said.
Toni Kroos got emotional when Roger Federer won the 2017 Australian Open
Having met Roger Federer a fair few times since 2015, Toni Kroos then talked about his win over arch-rival Rafael Nadal at the 2017 Australian Open. The emotional triumph clutched at his heartstrings as the German said:
"Roger Federer won the Slam in January when he was coming back from injury and I was so excited because everyone had written him off at the age of 37. It was emotional for me because I would like to think there was a friendship. I also enjoy playing tennis, I like the aesthetics. I am far from a big follower, but I know a little bit."
The German Sniper then finally revealed how he had to move earth and sky to meet Roger Federer for the first time in 2015, some time after his wedding.
"Anyway, I met Roger Federer in 2015 at Wimbledon that was after our wedding, it is in my wedding time I will never forget. I was travelling London without children for 2-3 days to London and I promise Jessi (Kroos' wife) we will go shopping a little bit then, London that was definitely the plan. Now we arrived and of course I knew there were no tickets or anything," Kroos said.
"Well in any case we arrive, and I had a friend who had played professionally, and they had organized tickets for us, so I drove from the airport to the tennis facility and watched Roger on the center court. If you observe Roger, he's always ready to wait, he's pretty cool," Kroos added.
The German then remarked how he got to talk to Federer later. Though he had a small case of cold feet at first, it was gone in a minute.
"He comes across as someone who is super easy to talk to and joyful. Afterwards, I got to know he is a Basel fan, and he was a very, very big football fan and very interested. He was really very nice and very personable, since then we have met three of four times in Madrid, last of it being in London," Kroos said.