Diego Maradona just might have another coaching job.
The former soccer great, who coached Argentina at the World Cup,
sat in the crowd at the ATP World Tour Finals for the second
straight day Monday and took time to meet with the players,
including Novak Djokovic.
”He’s actually doing coaching. You didn’t know that?” said the
Serb, joking after winning his opening match at the season-ending
event for the top eight players. ”We’re working on some specifics,
like how to play with hands. High balls.”
Maradona was the captain of Argentina when the team won the 1986
World Cup. His infamous ”Hand of God” goal, when he punched the
ball past England goalkeeper Peter Shilton in the quarterfinals, is
one of the most controversial in soccer history.
”I wouldn’t go there. It was many years ago,” said Djokovic,
who was born nearly a year after that match. ”We all remember the
‘Hand of God.”’
Djokovic, a jokester who draws laughs from his imitations of
other players, was only kidding about Maradona being his coach, of
course. But he still said it was an ”incredible honor and
pleasure” to have the Argentine’s support while on the court at
the O2 Arena. Djokovic defeated beat Tomas Berdych of the Czech
Republic 6-3, 6-3 in Group A.
”He’s an image that is recognized all over the world,”
Djokovic said. ”We don’t need to spend words about him. He’s a big
Although the pair only met on Monday, they have been in contact.
Djokovic said he found out that Maradona was a fan, so he sent the
former Boca Juniors and Napoli star a shirt and a racket. Maradona
replied with an autographed jersey.
Maradona watched Manchester City play at Fulham in the Premier
League on Sunday before heading to the O2 to see Roger Federer beat
David Ferrer at the ATP finals. His appearance on Monday caused
Djokovic to be a bit nervous.
”He’s maybe the best player that ever played football. He’s one
of the biggest icons of the sport ever,” said Djokovic, who spoke
to Maradona in Italian. ”It’s normal that we’re all excited and
kind of nervous in front of him when we speak to him.”
Djokovic is looking forward to his support throughout the
”Hopefully,” Djokovic said, ”he can be my lucky charm.”