Maradona makes another appearance at ATP finals

Diego Maradona just might have another coaching job.

The former football great, who coached Argentina at this year’s

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?” the Serb

joked after winning his opening match at the season-ending event

for the top eight players in the world. ”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 football 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 belly laughs with 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.

”He’s an image that is recognized all over the world,” said

Djokovic, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3. ”We don’t need to spend

words about him. He’s a big legend.”

Although the pair only met face-to-face on Monday, they have

been in contact before. Djokovic said he found out that Maradona

was a fan of his, so he sent the former Boca Juniors and Napoli

star a shirt and a racket. Maradona replied with an autographed


Maradona went to watch 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 a few butterflies in Djokovic’s stomach.

”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.”

Nerves aside, Djokovic is looking forward to his support

throughout the round-robin tournament.

”Hopefully,” Djokovic said, ”he can be my lucky charm.”