Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stopped his match against Australian Omar Jasika to help a ball girl who had been hit in the face with a ball, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
When Tsonga realized the girl had been injured, he stopped play to walk her off the court, earning him applause from spectators and praise on social media.
“I didn't know it was going to be something like this,” Tsonga said of the public reception of his actions. “It’s just normal. She was really in trouble and the eyes were a bit [teary]. It was just normal to help her to go out of the stadium. I hope she’s going well now. I asked the umpire during the game and she said it’s okay, but with the umpire you never know. I will double check if she’s well now.”
The Frenchman, the ninth-ranked men’s player at the Australian Open, was in the final set of his eventual 7–5, 6–1, 6–4 win over Jasika when he noticed the ball girl’s injury.
“At the start I thought she was normal, because she always send me ball on the side so I said ‘what’s happened with her?’” Tsonga said. “After the second time I saw she was in trouble. I just came to her and helped her go out because she was in a bad [state].”
Watch the video of Tsonga and the girl below.
Tsonga will play countryman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the third round of the tournament.
- Erin Flynn