On his way to the third round of Australian Open past Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, Rafael Nadal found himself on quite a fix as one of his scorching forehands hit a ball girl on the head on Thursday.
The top seed muscled his way into the next round with a commanding 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-1 victory, but had a moment of panic when an innocent bystander got hit by one of return serves. When he was already en route to a win by straight sets, leading 4-1 in the third set, his forehand hit a ball girl to the left of him.
Надаль случайно попал в девочку, которая подавала мячи. А потом подошел, проверил, все ли с ней в порядке, и поцеловал 😮💋 pic.twitter.com/50WSvNznBN
— Eurosport.ru (@Eurosport_RU) January 23, 2020
After the audible gasp from the crowd died down, Nadal raced over to her to check on her and the girl gave him a thumbs up. Assured that she was unhurt, Nadal lifted the girl’s hat, gave her a kiss on the cheek and patted her on the head, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Talking about it post-match, the 33-year-old said, “For her probably was not a good moment. I was so scared for her, honestly.”
*𝒯𝒽𝒶𝓉* ballkid moment, narrated by @RafaelNadal 📚
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2020
“The ball was quick and straight on the head. She’s a super brave girl. It [has] been one of the more scary moments I’ve had on the tennis court.”
Nadal took to Twitter on Friday, and posted a selfie with the young ball girl. “Had the chance to meet her and her family today. So happy she is well after the scariest moment I’ve had on a tennis court. Annita is a brave girl!” he captioned it.
Had the chance to meet her and her family today. So happy she is well after the scariest moment I’ve had on a tennis court. Annita is a brave girl! 👧😘👌 pic.twitter.com/FDZGermA44
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 24, 2020
The 19-time Grand Slam champion went to the girl after the match and gifted her with the headband he wore on her way to his second Australian Open title. He next will face fellow Spaniard and No. 27 seed Pablo Carreno Busta.
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