Remember the time MS Dhoni walked into the MA Chidambaram Stadium to practice - only to find out it was packed with people waiting to see him train? Even MS was a little surprised by the reception.
Similar events repeated themselves a few days back when Roger Federer was greeted by a fully-packed stadium in Paris during a practice session for French Open, 2019.
This isn't an official match. This is a Roger Federer practice session at the Roland Garros. pic.twitter.com/L6w1H6p4mD— Troll Tennis (@TrollTennis) May 26, 2019
Even Federer was a little surprised by the reception.
What a crowd, wow!— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) May 25, 2019
Merci pour l’ovation 🙏 pic.twitter.com/613ltns7xH
He shouldn't have been, though. This is the first time the legend is participating in the French Open after 2015, and his fans in France have clearly been waiting for him to grace their country.
Don't take my word for this, just look at the pictures and videos. As I write this article, he has already played and won his first match - which was also a houseful, with people chanting Federer's name as if he was one of them.
He is one of them. He is one of us. Players like Federer - they represent their nations and transcend nationality at the same time.
After his game, Federer told Tennis Channel:
Every seat was taken in the house as I walked out. The crowds were really full and they were already chanting the name. There was definitely a bit of a buzz here. Twenty years since my first time and 10 years since my first and only win here, and having missed four editions, it's a big deal for Paris, and for me, too. Of course, it's great.
And later added, "I feel that the public missed me, and I missed them, as well".