MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan 23 – Rafael Nadal melted hearts at the Australian Open on Thursday, rushing to console a ballgirl and kissing her on the cheek after one of his fearsome shots ricocheted off her.
The Spanish world number one was in the throes of wrapping up his second round clash on Rod Laver Arena against Argentine Federico Delbonis when the unfortunate girl found herself in his firing line.
Nadal went over to check how she was and gave her a quick peck on the cheek for good measure, leaving the youngster blushing.
“For her it was not a good moment, I was so scared for her, the ball was quick and straight on her,” Nadal said after the match, giving her his headband as a momento.
“She’s a super brave girl. It has been one of the more scary moments of my career. I’m very happy she is good. She is brave. Well done.”