The 13-year-old ball girl who received a kiss on the cheek from Rafael Nadal has revealed the world number one was her favourite player – before he hit a forehand into her face.
Anita copped the blow to her face in the third set as the Spanish tennis star took on Argentina’s Federico Delbonis at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday.
Nadal rushed to the ballgirl’s aid and planted a kiss on her cheek, melting hearts around the world in the process.
Speaking with Weekend Today on Saturday, the teenager revealed Nadal was her ‘definitely’ her favourite player before the kiss and she hopes he wins the Grand Slam.
Speaking with Weekend Today on Saturday, Anita revealed Nadal was her ‘definitely’ her favourite player before the kiss and she hopes he wins the Grand Slam
‘It was really nice he was concerned enough to ask me if I was okay and to check on me because most players, I don’t think they would do that or show that much concern,’ Anita said.
‘He stopped the whole match just came over to see if I was okay which is really nice.’
The 13-year-old admitted she didn’t expect the kiss and thought the Spaniard would only ask if she was ‘okay’ after the ball made contact with her face.
‘I wasn’t too badly hurt, I’m pretty good with pain. It was more the shock of what had happened but I was quite fine afterwards and I’m not sore at all now,’ Anita said.
On Friday, Nadal met the youngster and left her with a signed hat saying: ‘To my friend Anita, all the best’.
Anita said she didn’t expect the kiss and thought the Spaniard would only ask if she was ‘okay’ after the ball made contact with her face. ‘It was really nice he was concerned enough to ask me if I was okay and to check on me because most players, I don’t think they would do that or show that much concern,’ she said
Anita said she was ‘extremely excited’ to meet with the 33-year-old amid his busy schedule.
‘His schedule is extremely busy, I don’t know how he made time to talk with me and I really appreciate that. It was an amazing moment,’ she said.
The teenager said the signed cap was an ‘amazing’ gift and she intends to display it in her house.
The hardworking ball girl admitted it can be ‘tiring’ work with late shifts on the court but didn’t appear fazed by the commitment.
Nadal met with Anita after the game to make sure she was okay (pictured on Friday when he met her)
Antia (pictured) was given a cap from Nadal signed, ‘To my friend Anita. All the best’
Nadal shared a smiling selfie to Instagram after he checked up on Anita to ensure she was okay.
‘Very happy to see that Anita is doing well,’ he wrote.
‘I also had the chance to meet her, her brother Mark and parents. Thank you.’
Anita said she did not expect to sit down with the world number one and that she was ‘touched by his kindness’.
‘I was extremely excited because I had finally gotten to meet my favourite tennis player like really close up,’ she told Channel Nine.
‘I can’t believe it. He’s my favourite tennis player so I never expected this at all.’
Nadal checks on Anita’s face after accidentally firing a brutal forehand straight into her face
World number one Rafael Nadal accidentally shot a forehand straight into 13-year-old Anita’s face
Nadal and Anita take a smiling selfie which is shared to Instagram following the accident
Nadal shared a smiling selfie to Instagram after having checking up on Anita to ensure she was okay
Meanwhile, Nadal’s fans fawned over the world number one and said they wished that they were kissed.
‘Oh to be almost hit in the head by Rafael Nadal’s tennis ball, and to then be kissed tenderly on the cheek in apology,’ one wrote.
‘Rafael Nadal is the best. Apologizes to the girl after accidentally getting hit on the head and gets a kiss. What a class act by Nadal!! #AusOpen #AO2020,’ another wrote.
‘Imagine getting hit in the face by Rafael Nadal and then him coming to comfort you and kiss you on the cheek,’ someone else commented.
Other tennis fans commended Nadal on his caring nature and wished they could get a kiss from him
The pair were seen talking and laughing following the match after Anita was accidentally hit in the face
In his post match interview on Rod Laver Arena, Nadal said it was one of the scariest moments of his career.
‘For her it was probably not a good moment,’ Nadal said.
‘I was so scared for her honestly the ball was so quick and (hit her) straight on the head. She’s a super brave girl.’
‘Honestly it was one of the more scary moments on the court.’
Nadal was taken to a second-set tiebreak but was otherwise untroubled in the 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory.
The Spanish star (right) was all smiles when he met with 13-year-old Anita (left) after accidentally hitting her in the face with a forehand