When the tennis club in Finale Ligure, a small town in northern Italy, closed at the beginning of March, as part of Italy’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, its coaches challenged their young players to find inventive ways to keep training and to film themselves doing it.
The result is a series of videos posted on the Tennisclub Finale Facebook page. They showed youngsters practising their strokes with or without rackets or, in one case, with a long handled broom.
Several show players hitting balls against walls in the street or in parking lots or even in their bedroom or the family living room, with the wide-screen television positioned ominously close to the apex of the forehand swing.
The videos resembled many others being posted on social media under the #tennisathome hashtag, but one stood out, catching the attention of the ATP and tennis players and fans around the world.
Vittoria, 14, and Carola, 11, climbed onto the rooftop terraces of their buildings, which face each other across the street. There they lofted shots over the guard rails and the road, running round not only their backhands but also boiler vents as the ball bounced, not on the clay they are used to but on concrete slabs.
Now, this video went viral in April and it took a while but Roger Federer decided to join the girls for another rooftop match in July.
The expressions on their faces when Federer surprises them need to be seen to be believed.
Enjoy the video below: