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French Open 2018: Ballboy starstruck as Rafael Nadal walks past him, watch video

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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710   //    31 May 2018, 00:43 IST

TENNIS: MAY 29 French Open
Rafael Nadal in action at Roland Garros in Paris on Tuesday

Imagine getting to see your favourite sportsperson up close. You will be left starstruck and speechless, unable to move. Your eyes will probably pop out and your mind will go blank as you try to process the gravity of that moment.

That is exactly what happened to a ballkid at the French Open 2018 on Monday. At a changeover during Rafael Nadal’s first round clash with lucky loser Simone Bolelli, the ballboy was awestruck as the Spaniard walked past him to the chair.

Open mouthed, the ballboy’s gaze never left Nadal and that moment has been captured well in a video that has become popular all over social media.

He was probably seeing his hero in flesh and blood from that close a distance for the first time. And that young fellow certainly represents all of us! Any Nadal worshipper, who is lucky enough to get so near to the 16-time Grand Slam champion, won’t be reacting anything different.

With Nadal having won 10 titles on Court Philippe-Chatrier and having practically owned Roland Garros for more than a decade, it is not a surprise to see young French kids idolizing the southpaw.

And the World No. 1 is on course to add further to his burgeoning fan following. He is now six wins away from claiming an unprecedented 11th title on the hallowed claycourts of the Parisian Major.

But, for that to happen, Rafa needs to improve his level. He didn’t drop a set against Bolelli, but it was a struggle by his lofty standards. He had to save four set points in the third set to carve out a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) win over the Italian in a match that was played over two consecutive days, due to rain.

The defending champion will next take on the World No. 78 Guido Pella of Argentina for a place in the third round.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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