Tennis titan Novak Djokovic is currently giving the young ones a run for their money as the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, kicks off in Melbourne.
But amidst the rigorous training and mental preparation, a heartwarming message of support has flown across continents, courtesy of Indian cricket champion Virat Kohli.
In a video shared by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Kohli, ex-captain and a self-proclaimed Djokovic admirer, revealed a fascinating anecdote about their unexpected digital encounter.
“I got in touch with Novak very organically, I was just looking at his profile once on Instagram and I just happened to press the message button. I thought I’ll just say hello, maybe, and then I saw a message from him on my DM already,” shared Kohli.
“I never opened it myself. So, [the] first time I saw my own messages myself, I saw, he messaged me himself. And I was like, let me just check if it’s a fake account or something like that.
“We got talking. We keep exchanging messages every now and then. I congratulated him on all his amazing achievements,” Kohli said.
He also talked about how the Serbian legend had posted an Instagram story congratulating Kohli on his 50th ODI century and shared how there has been mutual admiration and respect between the two athletes.
The video, which has gone viral on social media, shows Kohli lavishing praise on Djokovic’s athleticism.
“I have a lot of respect for him, his journey,” Kohli declared, “his passion for fitness is something that I dearly follow myself.”
Kohli also talked about the viral clip of Australian cricketer Steve Smith playing tennis and cricket with Djokovic amid the ongoing Australian Open.
The clip garnered a lot of attention on social media, showing great cross-sport camaraderie between the two players, as Djokovic reacted to Smith’s return of his serve in awe, even dropping his racket on the court.
“I think Steve did really well to return his serve, so I was a bit tempted. When you play cricket and you have hand-eye coordination, you’re very tempted with racket sports. You feel like you can do this.
“But I have seen tennis matches live, and I know how fast those serves are so I probably don’t have a chance to touch that, but it’ll be nice to probably do that with him as well,” Kohli said.
Djokovic, currently world number 1, responded with a message of his own on X (formerly Twitter).
“Thank you for these kind words Virat Kohli. Looking forward to the day we play together.”
Djokovic, a ten-time Australian Open champion, seeks to dethrone Margaret Court and reign supreme with 25 Grand Slams. Both stars are tied at 24, making this tournament a historic showdown.
Now, with Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena beckoning once more, tennis fans are buzzing with anticipation not just for Djokovic’s quest for an astonishing 25th Grand Slam crown, but also for the potential meeting of the Kohli-Djokovic duo off the court.