Indore, Jan 14: Talismanic India batter Virat Kohli revealed that star tennis player Novak Djokovic had previously sent him a message via social media platform Instagram, which initiated the start of a text-based friendship between two stalwarts of their respective sports.
“I got in touch with Novak very organically. When I saw his profile on Instagram, I pressed the message button, I thought I would just message him. Then I saw his message already on my DM. I had never opened it. It was the first time I had opened my own messages. And he's messaged me himself.”
“So first I thought let me just check, maybe it's a fake account. Then I checked again, it was legitimate. Then we got talking. We keep exchanging messages every now and then. I congratulated him for all his amazing achievements," said Kohli in a video on bcci.tv.
He also revealed about getting a message from Djokovic after hitting his 50th ODI century in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Mumbai. "When I got 50th ODI century recently, Novak Djokovic put out a story, and sent me a nice message as well so there is mutual admiration and respect."
"Really nice to connect with global athletes who are excelling at a high level. I have a lot of respect for him and his journey. His passion for fitness is something I dearly follow myself. So there was a lot to connect on.
"Hopefully If he comes to India sooner, I happen to be in a country where he is playing. I will definitely catch up with him and just chill out and maybe have a cup of coffee," added Kohli.
The veteran right-handed batter also said he saw the video of Djokovic and premier Australia batter Steve Smith trying to play cricket at a promotional event ahead of the Australian Open.
"I think he's way better than swinging the cricket bat than we are at swinging the tennis racquet. I think Steve did pretty well to return his serve. When you have good hand-eye coordination, you think you can also do that.
"But I have seen tennis matches live, so I know how fast those serves are. But it would be nice to play tennis with Novak as well. Probably the only thing I can teach him is how to hold a cricket bat."
On Saturday, Djokovic, the 24-time Grand Slam winner, had expressed his admiration for India and had revealed about his bonding with Kohli. "I've felt that for many years. I visited India only once around 10 or 11 years ago for a two-day exhibition event in New Delhi. It was a brief stay, and I hope to return soon to explore the country's rich history, culture, and spirituality.
“I've great relationships with eminent personalities like Sachin, Virat and many others. I've been in touch with Virat Kohli over texts for a few years, but we have never met in person. It was a privilege to hear him speak kindly about me. I admire his career and achievements," he said on Sony Sports Network.