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Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had better watch out for Juan Martin del Potro when the men's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship starts next week as the Argentine will have a legend in his corner.

After attending the night session of women’s tennis on Wednesday, football icon Diego Maradona joked that he’ll be trying out his tennis coaching skills with del Potro, who will be competing in Dubai starting Monday.

“Next week I’ll be the one training del Potro myself. I will ask Franco Davin to step aside and Diego will train del Potro,” said Maradona.

The former Al Wasl boss, now an ambassador for Dubai Sports Council (DSC), enjoyed a doubles match won by Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands before catching Italy’s Sara Errani finish off Romania’s Sorana Cirstea in straight sets.

The 52-year-old says tennis is his second favourite sport behind football, and was happy to analyse the match saying Errani used her experience and patience to let Cirstea go for her shots and eventually make the errors – which was a fair description of the clash. “The Romanian girl (Cirstea) has a spectacular game,” he added.

Despite being one of the most recognisable faces in world sport, Maradona admitted to being a little star-struck when he came face-to-face with the poster girl of women's tennis.

“I also had the pleasure to meet Caroline Wozniacki. She is one of the top players and she is very beautiful and a very nice girl," he said. “Despite her ranking and all her achievements, she came to say hello to me, although I’m the one who wanted to get up and go and greet her."

Say cheese: Maradona and Wozniacki pose for the cameras. (via @CaroWozniacki on Twitter)

He was, however, unhappy at not being able to see the world No1, Serena Williams in action. “I was disappointed that Serena withdrew, because watching Serena is a show," said Maradona. "She’s amazing but like all sports, tennis has injuries and I wish that she recovers quickly so that I can personally meet her."

Maradona is a big fan of Rafael Nadal and he wishes the Spaniard were playing next week. “I’m not the organiser of the event but trust me, if I was, Rafael Nadal would be playing here next week!"

Tennis may be his second favourite sport, but Maradona also has an affinity for... cricket.


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