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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Virat Kohli and wife Anushka Sharma met Roger Federer at the 2019 Australian Open (Virat Kohli Instagram page)
Federer's social media campaign to encourage fans to remain healthy amid pandemic
In his own words, Virat Kohli is a big Roger Federer fan. Such is his admiration for the tennis icon that the Indian captain associated himself with the UAE Royals Team in the 2015 Indian Premier Tennis League (IPTL) season.
"The association is indeed a pleasure for me because this year we have the man in our team, the man the whole world looks up to - Mr Roger Federer," Kohli had said at a press conference in Dubai five years ago.
"And he is probably the main reason why this association happened. I mean I could not miss this opportunity to interact with him. I met him a couple of times. This is the main reason why this association ended up happening."
Since then, Kohli had a chance to meet Federer again at the 2019 Australian Open, the pictures of his meeting he gleefully shared on social media.
And now, Kohli got a pleasant surprise on Tuesday night when Federer challenged him on Twitter to practice hitting a tennis ball against a wall as part of a social media campaign from the 20-time Grand Slam winner to encourage fans to stay healthy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the video, Federer was seen showing his quick reflexes as he hit the ball against the wall, asking his fans and global celebrities to do the same.
Kohli is in illustrious company, though, as Federer also challenged Bill Gates, NFL icon Tom Brady, NBA star Stephen Curry, football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and his great tennis rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The video is an instant hit, gaining over 1 million views as fans began posting videos of their efforts and a few lucky ones even got tips from the maestro.
"Don't lean back, strong in the wrist," Federer said to one his fans. "Keep up the great work."
Another fan posted a video of him hitting against an indoor wall besides a dog.
Federer's advice to that man? "Love the confidence not to drop the (tennis ball emoji) on the (dog emoji)," he wrote.
Federer, whose mother is South African, also impressed an Australian cricket fan with his knowledge on the sport and the greatest batsman ever to have picked up a cricket bat, Sir Don Bradman.
The fan even challenged Federer to do what Bradman famously used to do - hitting a golf ball with a cricket stump to improve his hand-eye coordination.
"Hey Roger looks like an old drill our most famous cricketer used sir Donald Bradman. However not flat surface he hit, with a rounded cricket stump an Inch in diameter, a golf ball against a corrugated water tank surface at the same distance. Give that a go Good luck two in a row!" the fan wrote.
The humble Federer, who spent his childhood in Australia, simply acknowledged: "The Don, I know, incredible."
The 38-year-old Federer might not have a tennis season to look forward to in 2020 amid the pandemic which could eventually rob him of his swansong at next year's Wimbledon, but he is reminding us every day why he will always remain one of the most admired athletes the world has ever known.
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