Editor’s Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 21 April 2019.
Before they hit the tennis courts at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem hit the football field on Sunday to meet the players of FC Barcelona.
The second and third seeds at the ATP 500 event, respectively, toured the grounds of the Ciutat Esportiva. Gerard Pique and other team members promised to return the favour and visit the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899 to catch the ATP Tour action this week.
“I think everyone who comes from Germany has to be a soccer fan,” joked Zverev. “[Meeting] some of the players was very exciting. This is one of the best clubs in the world, so to see how they function and see the practice grounds was amazing.”
Thiem was among the players who attended Saturday’s league game between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad. They also had the chance to meet the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“I love football and I just met some of the best players in the world. They’re all really nice,” said Thiem. “It was good to experience the practice grounds and the game yesterday, so it couldn’t be better for a football fan like me.”
Zverev will start his week against Nicolas Jarry of Chile or Marcel Granollers of Spain, while Thiem begins his Barcelona campaign against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan or Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.