Rafael Nadal showed his human side in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday. The Spaniard gave an apologetic kiss to the cheek of a ball girl that he had just been filled with a hard groundstroke just before.
"I was so scared," said Nadal shortly after his victory over Argentinian Federico Delbonis (6-3, 7-6 (4) and 6-1) in his interview on the job. "The ball was hard and hit her full on her head. It was one of the most frightening moments I had on the tennis court."
With a 4-1 lead in the third set, the 33-year-old number one in the world hit a return with his forehand wrong, causing the ball to hit the head of the ball girl standing next to the net.
The startled Nadal immediately approached the girl and kissed her cheek. After the game, he also gave her his headband. "I am very happy that she is doing well. She is a very brave girl."
Terrible pelotazo de Nadal a una alcanza pelotas ... ¿Habrá valido la pena por el regalo que recibió? Un gran n ° 1 @ Rafael NadalAvatar
For the app users: click on the video to see images of the moment that Nadal hits the ball girl.
"I have to play better"
The nineteen-time Grand Slam winner was less happy with his game in the Australian evening. In particular, he jumped very sloppy with his chances against the equally left-handed Delbonis (ATP-76), because he only used three of his twenty break chances.
"I have to play better, especially at the breakpoints," Nadal emphasized. "It wasn't necessarily Delbonis, I could do a lot better myself."
"But I am confident that in the coming rounds I will come out better, because in the third set my level was excellent because I played more aggressively. I have to show that level more."
Nadal takes on Saturday in the third round against his 27th placed countryman Pablo Carreño Busta. In the fourth round there may be a duel with Australian Nick Kyrgios, who Thursday in his match against Gilles Simon (6-2, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-5) imitated Nadal when he was warned by the referee because he took too much time for a service.
Kyrgios and Simon give their best Nadal impersonations when given their respective time violations. SeemThey seem pretty spot on! Watch: @ Channel9Stream: https://t.co/YVc8u4pCVY # 9WWOS #AusOpenAvatar
For the app users: click on the video to see how Kyrgios imitates Nadal.