Cape Town - For a ball boy at the French Open at Roland Garros, his dream of playing a point with his hero Rafael Nadal came true on a packed Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday.
World No 1 Nadal was giving a post-match court-side interview after beating local favourite Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in their Round 3 clash, when the interviewer, former French star Marion Bartoli, asked if he would have a rally against one of his youngest - and biggest - admirers.
was classy in his response as he went over to his bag to hand the ball
boy one of his racquets before taking his position on court.
Although it was only supposed to a single rally, Nadal asked for
a second ball after his opponent had found the net with a backhand.
The ball boy held his own, maintaining rallies of 14 shots and 8
shots, before Nadal stepped over the net to embrace the youngster.
“It was a good feeling. It’s so nice when you have a chance to play
with kids that normally only watch you on TV,” Nadal said, according to the ATP Tour website.
“I have been on the other part of the situation, being a kid
and playing with professional tennis players when I was 12 or 11 and
having an amazing feeling. Probably for him, today was a great day,
especially here on this amazing court.”
Nadal, 31, will play German Maximilian Marterer in the Round of 16 as he goes in search of an unprecedented 11th French Open title on the clay in Paris.