Federer on cloud nine after shaking "Hand of God"

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2010, 09:37 AM IST

London: Queen Elizabeth and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among those granted an audience with Roger Federer this year. On Tuesday, the Swiss was on cloud nine when he got a chance to shake the "Hand of God".

Argentine soccer great Maradona, who infamously punched in the first goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals and then said it had been scored by the "Hand of God", has become a regular fixture courtside at the ATP World Tour Finals this week.

Maradona, arguably one of the greatest players to kick a ball, nodded his approval throughout Federer`s 6-4 6-2 demolition of Andy Murray and afterwards the Swiss 16-times grand slam champion said he did not know who was more star-struck when the two sporting icons met face-to-face.

"Yeah, I did meet up. Everything went okay. Really relieved that everything was okay," a smiling Federer, who met the Queen during this year`s Wimbledon championships, told reporters after chalking up his second successive Group B win.

"I`m a big soccer fan. It`s been a pleasure to meet him. I heard he`s a big tennis fan, a big fan of mine."

"I think he was almost more excited to meet me than I was to meet him, and I was very excited. It was a big pleasure."

Maradona is turning out to be a bit of a mascot for the top three players this week -- who all remain undefeated in London.

He was also seen chatting to world number one Rafael Nadal in the corridors of the domed O2 Arena while third-ranked Novak Djokovic could not resist pulling his leg after the 50-year-old sat courtside for the Serbian`s first match on Monday.

"When he came in during the middle of the first set, I wondered whether I should play with my legs or my hands!" joked Djokovic who hopes to hit some balls on the practise with the former Boca Juniors and Napoli player.

Bureau Report