(Reuters) – Two Italian girls whose rooftop tennis video went viral have received a surprise visit from Roger Federer.
The video of Vittoria Oliveri and Carola Pessina playing on the rooftops of neighbouring buildings in Finale Ligure during the COVID-19 lockdown garnered over 10 million views.
The girls thought they were preparing for another media interview when they were asked about their favourite players.
“Roger Federer. If I were to meet him, I would jump on him, or I would be starstruck,” Vittoria, 13, said.
“I would like to have Federer’s elegance while playing and (Rafa) Nadal’s power,” 11-year-old Carola added.
The girls were then left wide-eyed and speechless when Federer came out from behind a curtain. The 20-times Grand Slam champion later played some rooftop tennis with the girls before inviting them for lunch.
“I nearly fainted when he showed up,” Vittoria was quoted as saying by The Times. “He figured out the distances pretty fast and started playing shots between his legs from one roof to another, which was amazing.
“I didn’t think he was real. I thought it was a mannequin.”
Federer also told the girls he had arranged for them to go to a summer camp at the Rafa Nadal Academy.
“Personally, for me, that was a very special moment in my career as a tennis player to surprise a fan, or children, like I was able to with Carola and Vittoria today,” Federer said.
“I have played in many cool places around the world, but this one is definitely up there for me as a special experience. We showed that we can play anywhere and have fun with it.”
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)