Veteran UAE businessman and cricket aficionado Shyam Bhatia is used to having the biggest names in the history of the game visit his private museum in Jumeirah, Dubai, which houses one of the finest collections of cricket memorabilia in the world.
But it looks like the Shyam Bhatia Museum might soon be visited by sporting royalty outside cricket.
Roger Federer enjoyed a memorable weekend at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, reaching the landmark of 100 tour-level titles after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. 37-year-old Federer joined Jimmy Connors as the only two players to win 100 tour-level titles in the open era.
Bhatia was present at the Aviation Club to witness the historic occasion. And what made the weekend even more special was his interaction with the Swiss icon on Friday where Bhatia not only presented Federer a copy of his book ‘Portraits of the Game’, but also invited Federer to his museum.
“It was a special weekend. I got to meet Roger Federer and presented him my book ‘Portraits of the Game’. He enquired about the book and said he liked the illustrations. I invited Federer to my museum and he said he will visit with his kids,” Bhatia told Sport360.
Bhatia had met Federer three years back at the Dubai Duty Free Championship and this time he got an opportunity have a detailed interaction.
Swiss icon Federer and cricket have crossed paths in the past. Indian batting icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli have met Federer during tournaments while the Indian team presented him a jersey during the 2015 World Cup.
Apart from appreciating the history of cricket at the museum, Bhatia aims to exchange ideas about his Cricket For Care programme – that provides kits to children in various countries – with Federer.
For the record, the Roger Federer Foundation supports education projects in six countries in southern Africa.
The latest battle of big servers at the O2 resulted in a 7-6 (5) 6-3 victory for German Zverev, ending Isner’s debut in the tournament at the group stage.
After 40 minutes of hammering their 130mph-plus missiles past each other, the first set went to a predictable tie-break which Zverev edged.
Dropping that set meant Isner knew he would be eliminated, but the American battled on gamely until Zverev eked out the match’s solitary break of serve in the eighth game of the second set before sealing victory.
The dream final match-up between Federer and Novak Djokovic at London’s O2 remains a tantalising prospect, but not if 21-year-old hot-shot Zverev has his way.
“It’s obviously great getting to the semi-finals. But the tournament isn’t over,” he said.
“I am in the semi-finals. There’s only good opponents left. There’s only the best in the world.
“I’m playing Roger, which is going to be a very difficult but hopefully very nice match. We’ll see how far I can go.”
World number one Djokovic will face South African debutant Kevin Anderson, the man he beat in this year’s Wimbledon final, in the other semi-final.
Roger Federer‘s career isn’t quite done yet, but at 37, he’s close enough to the end of the road that he can take a look back on just how far he’s come.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner has played against multiple generations during his stellar run, and now he’s the one who the younger players all say they looked up to.
“I understand if they call me old. In life, I’m still young, but as a tennis player I’m definitely on the older side,” Federer said.
See Federer’s full comments in the video below.