Top seed Rafael Nadal on Thursday won hearts on the internet with his extraordinary gesture after a wayward return by the Spaniard hit a ball girl, who was standing next to the chair umpire. The incident took place during his second-round match at the ongoing Australian Open against Federico Delbonis of Argentina. He went on to win the match in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1.
Later speaking about the incident, Nadal said, “For her it was probably not a good moment.” He added, “I was so scared for her honestly the ball was so quick and (hit her) straight on the head. She’s a super brave girl.”
The interviewer said, “And she (ball girl) got a kiss from Rafael Nadal. A few people here will appreciate that.” Nadal, who looked at his wife sitting in the audience, was asked not to worry about her. To which, the top seed said, “No, No, I am not worried at all. Probably after 15 years, she doesn’t care much.”
Nadal added, “Honestly it was one of the more scary moments I had on the tennis court. The ball hit straight on her head. I had a terrible memory from Wimbledon a long time ago.”
ICYMI A moment *that* ball kid will never forget..
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2020
a fine gentleman that he is, Nadal planted a kiss on the ball girl’s cheek and presented a few souvenirs including his wrist band.
Talking about his victory, Nadal said, “I lost a lot of opportunities on break points. Honestly, I found a way to finally win that second set and in the third, I think I played a little bit more relaxed.”
Nadal will face fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta in the third round.
Meanwhile, Twitterati have been hailing the tennis superstar for his amazing gesture;
Nadal hits a ball girl and kisses her owwwwwww pic.twitter.com/OlvZyeCLOx
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 23, 2020
#AusOpen Nadal hit a ball girl with the tennis ball accidentally. Went up to her and apologised with a kiss on her cheek ? Only the gentlemen know how to treat people well. Such a lovely gesture ?? pic.twitter.com/LwvJ7N9E9j
— Dpes Pandit?? (@Thejuly23rdd) January 23, 2020
Straight to her head…a girl was hit by a tennis ball from Nadal today when playing against Delbonis ?? He worried approached and asked her if she was ok so she was really brave and received a little kiss ? Great Rafa! pic.twitter.com/uPzqtDW2Ub
— Martin Diaz (@martinluvtennis) January 23, 2020
??? ¡THE GESTURE OF THE DAY! Nadal hit a forehands and, unwittingly, hit a ball girl, but quickly went to see how he was and apologized. with a kiss on the cheek. Great.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/kKcufCpWbO
— The World Tennis Community (@TheWorldTennis1) January 23, 2020