On one side was the best batsman in the world at the moment – someone who could hit the ball cleanly and with consistency matched by no one else, someone who was effortless around the world and on all surfaces.
On the other side was someone referred to as the G.O.A.T. or Greatest of All Time with equal finesse and prowess in his shot making and someone who is divine and effortless when he plays the game. That was the scene when Virat Kohli met Roger Federer at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Federer, aiming for a seventh Australian Open at the time while holding the most number of grand slam titles, was stopped in his tracks by Stefanos Tsitsipas. He found time to meet the Indian skipper who was one of the guests at the Melbourne Park following India’s historic series wins in Tests and then ODIs against Australia.
“It was amazing,” Kohli told Sky Sport. “I’ve met him a couple of times before and the fact that he remembered me was crazy. He told me he met me in Sydney a few years back when he was playing an exhibition match and I was like, ‘Wow, he remembers me!’ I can’t explain that feeling. I’ve watched him play since I was a child. He’s a great tennis player but also a great man and a great human being.”
The appreciation, it seems, was mutual, with the pair discussing how they each go about their business. “He kept asking me questions,” said Kohli. “We were talking about mindsets in sport, how he prepares, what he thinks about his sport. It was a beautiful, beautiful time.”
Kohli is on his way back from New Zealand after leading the Indian cricket team to an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. Taking into account the busy schedule ahead, Kohli has been rested for the remaining two ODIs and the three-match T20I series.