Wimbledon is all about Pimm’s and lemonade, strawberries and cream, politely applauding good tennis and shouting out ‘Come on Andy’.
Perhaps that’s why everyone is getting so worked up about a few incidents involving ballboys, with Rafa Nadal and French player Adrian Mannarino (pictured above) coming under the spotlight.
We’ll start with Mannarino, fined $9 000 (R121 000) for a shoulder charge in his second-round victory over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita.
Mannarino actually has a bit of a history with ballboys – first up is the Wimbledon shoulder barge, and then two other recent incidents that have raised eyebrows:
Not really a good look.
With regards Rafa it’s a bit of a storm in a tea cup really, as Sport24 lays out:
Nadal, comfortably one of the most popular players on the tour, was filmed during his five-set defeat to Gilles Muller on Monday asking a ballboy to drop a drinks lid into the courtside litter bin – which was right next to his chair.
The youngster performed the task uncomplainingly but that didn’t prevent the online community taking offence on his behalf.
We all know that Rafa’s match against Müller was a marathon (highlights HERE), so I think we can excuse him for asking the kid to toss something in the bin.
Novak Djokovic admits the players could probably be a tad nicer:
[He] admitted players could be more sensitive in their attitude to the ballboys and ballgirls.
“Players can be at times harsh but you have to understand the players’ point of view, as well,” said the three-time champion after knocking out Mannarino on Tuesday.
“Obviously things are happening when you don’t have much time to recover from one point to another. Sometimes those four, five seconds, somebody brings a towel, tosses the ball, can cause trouble for you.
“You can get a time violation, which happened many times in the past.
“But they’re a very important part of tennis.”
The tournament sees around 250 ballboys and ballgirls take to the court, so I guess there’s always going to be an incident or two now and again.
Given their proximity to their heroes, I’m sure all is quickly forgiven.