Back in 2017, when a five-year-old Kashmiri-American Tennis player, asked Swiss Tennis icon Roger Federer if he could play against him when he becomes a pro, little did he know that five years later, the legendary tennis star Roger Federer will actually be his opponent in a training programme.
The five-year-old player then, Izyan Ahmad, who also goes by his nickname Zizou, had asked Federer the question in a press conference.
Following Izyan’s wish, Federer replied in the affirmative and Izyan asked, “Is that a promise?” to which the 20 times Grand Slam winner had replied, “Pinky promise.”
Little did Izyan know that 5 years on from that press conference, Roger Federer would actually keep his word to him.
Izyan Ahmad is a son of Kashmiri parents. His father Farooq Ahmad is a media professional based in New Jersey and originally hails from Dangiwacha area of Rafiabad, in Baramualla district of north Kashmir.
Izyan’s mother, Nida Haji is from Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar. Nida is currently serving as the Director of Consumer Lending and Head of the Business Analysis Centre of Excellence in Tavant Technologies, in New York.
In a video that has since got viral, it can be seen that Izyan was flown to Zurich for what he thought would be a training session and before he could start, he was asked by an employee of the club if he would like a selfie with the manager, who is a big fan of Izyan.
“Coach, he knew my name!” and “Talk about VIP” were some early reactions a camera caught of Izyan. Soon, a woman arrived and she was wearing a shirt with Izyan’s face on it.
While all this was happening, a giddy Roger Federer was watching his reactions behind the scenes.
After that, Zizou was escorted to the clay court lined with children who were chanting his name. Soon there was an announcement that proclaimed, “All the young people watching you playing finally against a worthy opponent. Here is your surprise.”
And then the big reveal took place as Roger Federer himself came out from behind the curtains and Zizou’s held his hands over his mouth in disbelief before he could utter, “Hi, Mr Federer.”
“Nice to see you. Roger! We made a promise, right? We’re going to play. Are you ready?” the eight-time Wimbledon winner said as the two shook hands and hugged.
Pertinently, Swiss tennis star Federer is battling an injury. He has not been able to return to the tennis court due to continuous injury, various reports say.
It was believed that he might return from Wimbledon but that did not happen. Now he can return to the Laver Cup in September. In such a situation, speculations are also being made about his retirement.