Around this time last year, tennis pro Jo-Wilfried Tsonga hit the headlines after coming to the aid of an injured ballgirl at the Australian Open.
The teen was inadvertently struck by Omar Jasika’s serve in a second-round game, and Tsonga called for medical attention and then escorted her off the court.
He told the press, “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.”
A year after the incident, the girl, now known as Giuliana, sent Tsonga a heartfelt ‘thank you’ note.
“Dear Mr Jo-Wilfried Tsonga,” the letter reads.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you for helping me out on court during your round 2 match. I’m not sure if you remember me but I was the ball girl you escorted off court.
“I would also like to take the opportunity to apologise for the times when you asked for the ball but I did not service it to you or acknowledge you.
“I had picked up a virus which I was unaware of and it caused me to become dizzy and lightheaded. This also affected my vision and hearing.
“I apologise for not being able to perform my duties as a ball kid to the high standards that are expected.
“Thank you so much for the kindness that you showed me. I really appreciate that you were able to see that I needed some help and were kind enough to escort me off court.”
The letter finishes by wishing Tsonga “all the best” for his remaining games, before signing off: “Giuliana, AO Ballkid no. 180.” (BBC)
Here’s Tsong’s Tweet about the note:
— Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (@tsonga7) January 22, 2017
What a player. What a gentleman.