Former Norwich City striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has revealed that tennis star Roger Federer congratulated him after he completed a move to Swiss club FC Basel.
The Dutch international arrived at the St Jakob-Park from Vitesse Arnhem before the start of the 2017/18 season. The new men's singles World No 1 was born in Basel and is a boyhood fan of the Swiss Super League.
"He had a message for me, 'Ricky, welcome to FC Basel. Good luck with our beautiful club!' That is very cool," Van Wolfswinkel explained, as quoted by the Express.
Federer eclipsed Rafael Nadal at the top of the ATP rankings at the 2018 Rotterdam Open, which the former won after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the final. The 36-year-old said that a lot of travelling to play tennis tournaments across the globe restricts him from watching his favourite club Basl at the St Jakob-Park.
"I'd like to attend more FC Basel games and this kind of events. But this is what you have to do to if you have a tennis career. But I know that when I will stop playing tennis, it will be all different. I have an apartment in the centre of the city," Federer said in November.
Meanwhile, Van Wolfswinkel also revealed that he was not the only player monitored by the Swiss champions. Basel were closely monitoring the former Premier League striker and Sebastien Haller, but decided against making an approach for the latter.
Haller, who was at FC Utrecht at that time, left the Dutch club and made a switch to Eintracht Frankfurt last summer. Van Wolfswinkel stressed that his "character" was the "decisive factor" in Basel's decision to sign him ahead of the Frenchman.
"Trainer Raphael Wicky, technical director Marco Streller and club icon Alexander Frei visited three separate games," he said.
"We got into conversation and I became more and more enthusiastic. The club made the choice between me and Sébastien Haller. The choice fell on me, and I understood that my character was the decisive factor."