Great Britain

Watch Rafa Nadal kiss ball girl after smacking ball at her face in Australian Open victory

GENTLEMAN Rafa Nadal kissed a “super brave” ball girl and said sorry after smashing a stray ball at her face by mistake at the Australian Open.

And the 19-time Grand Slam champion said the incident was one of his “scariest” moments of his career.

In the sixth game of the third set against Argentine Federico Delbonis, Nadal accidentally hit his return of serve flush at the ball girl, who was standing by the umpire’s chair.

The Spaniard, 33, immediately stopped playing and ran over to the teenager to check she was okay.

After learning that she was fine and there was no injury, Nadal pulled up her baseball camp and planted a big smacker on her cheek as way of apology.

Nadal, who received the ATP sportsmanship for 2019, said: “For her, it was probably not a good moment!

“I was scared for her. The ball was quick. And straight on her. She is a super brave girl.

“It was one of my more scarier moments I have had on the tennis court.

“The ball was straight on the head. I had the terrible memory of Wimbledon from long ago.

“I am glad you are good. You are brave. Well done.”

Nadal tweeted a photo of the pair together, captioned: "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! 👧😘👌"

The courtside presenter joked that there were many people on the Rod Laver Arena who would have probably welcomed a similar kiss on their cheeks.

After being told not to worry about his watching wife, Nadal laughed: “I’m not worried at all. Probably after 15 years she doesn’t care much!”

The world No.1 is through to the third round of the Slam after beating Delbonis 6-3 7-6 6-1.

He will now face fellow countryman Pablo Carreno Busta in the Last 32 with Australian nemesis Nick Kyrgios possibly waiting in the fourth round.

This is all a far cry from the unacceptable antics of qualifier Elliot Benchetrit, who was criticised for asking a ball girl to peel his BANANA for him.

The French qualifier was caught on camera asking for assistance peeling the fruit until the umpire refused the request.

Viewers condemned the world No.231, calling him a “nasty piece of work” and a “privileged creep”.

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