- Rafael Nadal accidentally hit a ball girl in the face during his match against Federico Delbonis on Thursday, before apologizing with a kiss and a signed hat.
- “For her, probably it was not a good moment,” he told the crowd after. “She’s a super brave girl.”
- He then met with the youngster and her family , giving her a signed hat that read, according to Wide World of Sports: “To my friend Annita, all the best.”
- Nadal beat Delbonis in straight sets, and will next face Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round on Saturday.
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“She’s a super brave girl,” Rafael Nadal told the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday, after accidentally launching a forehand into the face of a ball girl during his Australian Open second round match against Federico Delbonis.
“For her, probably it was not a good moment.”
Leading two sets to nil against Delbonis, Nadal was 4-1 up in the third when he inadvertently returned the Argentine’s serve directly at the young girl, who was stood next to the umpire’s chair.
The crowd gasped, before the Spaniard immediately went over to her to check if she was OK.
He then lifted her hat, patted her on the head, and planted a kiss on her cheek, drawing loud applause.
Ball girl comforted by Nadal after being hit in the face by a stray shot.????
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 23, 2020
“I was so scared for her honestly. The ball was quick and it was straight on the head,” Nadal added.
When jokingly asked if his wife would care about the kiss, he said, laughing: “No, no, no, I’m not worried at all! Probably after 15 years she doesn’t care much.”
After the match, Nadal gave the girl his headband, according to CNN, before later sitting down with her and family to chat.
“I just got to interview Rafael Nadal,” the youngster told Wide World of Sports. “That was amazing. I can’t believe it. He’s my favourite tennis player so I never expected this at all.
“He gave me this hat, which says ‘To my friend Annita, all the best.'” She added: “I was touched by his kindness.”
The pair even managed to get a selfie together, which Nadal shared on his Twitter account.
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
“Had the chance to meet her and her family today,” he said. “So happy she is well after the scariest moment I’ve had on a tennis court. Annita is a brave girl!”
Nadal beat Delbonis 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, and will now play countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round on Saturday.
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