Tennis

Roger Federer Keeps Promise, Plays with Young Fan Zizou

Photo credit: Barilla

When Roger Federer makes a pinky promise, it’s a game-changer for one young fan.

During the 2017 US Open press conference, Federer was challenged by a fan and tennis player Izyan Ahmad, known to his fans as Zizou. He asked if Federer could keep playing until he’d be old enough to play against him when the time came.

The Swiss Maestro Federer gave Zizou his word and a “pinky promise”, and the video went viral on Youtube.

Five years later, Barilla, Federer’s long-time sponsor, made the former world No. 1’s promise a dream come true and gifted Zizou “the best day of his life.”

Initially told he was travelling to Zurich for training purposes, Zizou did not know he would meet his tennis hero. It wasn’t an easy task to fly Zizou all the way from the US to Zurich, Switzerland without the knowledge of what would await him, in fact it was only with the help of Zizou’s family and his coach that his dream was made possible. There was no margin for error as the aim of the film was to show a candid moment between a top athlete and an excited fan. 

Watch Zizou’s charmingly emotional reaction to see his hero at about the 1:50 mark of the video below.

“We made a promise right?” Federer says to his young fan. “We’re going to play. Are you ready? Let’s do it!”

An emotional Zizou replies: “Oh my god, thank you, I’m so excited.”

As you can see from Zizou’s highlights, including a tremendous tweener, he is no ordinary fan.

Zizou is currently ranked No. 1 in the USA in the 12 and under age division in both singles and doubles. He trains at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy (JMTA) at Randall’s Island in New York City and is part of USTA National player development program. A young ambitious player with passion for the game to follow in the future.

Here’s the video of the first meeting between Federer and his young fan when Zizou asked the Swiss to keep playing long enough so he could face him.

On that special day, Federer and Zizou bond over a friendly match and a well-deserved Barilla pasta dinner, chatting for hours about their ambitions and passion for tennis.

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