Diego Armando Maradona's death has thrown millions of fans around the world into despair. The memory of one of the greatest athletes of all time has made even more sad a year already tragic and shocking in itself. The Argentine's passion for tennis has always been known, as has his boundless admiration for Roger Federer.
Jorge Ferrari, a UAE-based photographer, was present when Maradona met the 20-time Grand Slam champion at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 2013. During last year's South American exhibition tour, the Swiss phenomenon received a beautiful message Diego who defined him as the greatest tennis player of all times.
Faced with one of his childhood idols, the former world number 1 was unable to hold back his tears by promising to return to Buenos Aires again in the future. Several tennis players - including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman - have spent wonderful words for Maradona on social media in recent days.
Schwartzman recounted how his parents named him Diego in honor of the greatest footballer ever.
Ferrari on their meeting in Dubai in 2013
"He came to watch Roger Federer. At the end of the match, Diego Armando Maradona wanted to meet Federer," said Jorge 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." 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."
When he talked about the Swiss professional, he talked like a true fan. And, the moment not only shook the 20-time Grand Slam winner but even the crowd roared in agreement. “Hello master, machine, like I like to call you.
You were, you are, and will be the greatest. There’s no other like you,” said the great Maradona. His demeanor as a gangster never failed to melt hearts. He told Federer, “I want you to know that if you have any kind of trouble in my country, you can call me and tell me what you need”.