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British tennis player Jodie Burrage came to the rescue of an unwell ball boy on the opening day of Wimbledon with a packet of Percy Pig sweets and a Gatorade drink.
The “distressing” incident came during the British No5’s defeat by Lesia Tsurenko, when one of the support staff started to feel faint not long after the match restarted following a rain delay.
Quick-thinking Burrage noticed the ball boy appeared unsteady on his feet and, when he took a seat behind her service line, she rushed to the player fridge to fetch an energy drink. She also gave him an energy gel from her personal bag to help perk him up, and crouched in front of him to see if he was ok.
Thanks to the help of a generous member of the crowd, 23-year-old Burrage was also able to offer him a few of the pig-shaped gummy sweets.
It was alarming that Burrage was the fastest to act on Court 18, considering she had her first-round match against Tsurenko to focus on - and was trailing 5-2 in the first set when the break began.
But it took five minutes for medical care to arrive for the stricken ball boy, and Burrage's opponent Tsurenko looked concerned too, leaning over the net to see if the boy was alright while the wait for official help ensued.
"He just said he was feeling really faint. He couldn't actually really talk. It was quite distressing to see,” Burrage said after her eventual 6-2, 6-3 defeat.
"I just tried to get him some sugar, gave him a Gatorade and a gel. The gel is not the nicest thing, so they managed to find some Percy Pigs somewhere along the line in the crowd, which he got down and then started to feel better. Yeah, hopefully he's feeling better now.
"To be honest, it didn't affect me too much, I guess. I actually came out, hit a great serve, probably the best serve I hit in that match after that. If anything, it did help me. But I just hope he's ok.
"I just reacted how I think anyone would. He was not in a good spot. I just tried to help him out as much as possible. I've fainted a few times. I actually had a panic attack once in juniors here, so I've been where he is. I kind of know a little bit how he was feeling. So, yeah, I just tried to help as much as I could. Hopefully I did."
It was the second break in play for Burrage and Tsurenko, who had the match suspended due to rain earlier in the morning after around 40 minutes of play. The ball boy was later treated by paramedics and left in a wheelchair.
Unfortunately Burrage was unable to claw her way back into the first-round match. Despite a strong grass-court showing this season, which included making the final of a Challenger event and beating world No4 Paula Badosa in Eastbourne, she ended up losing to Tsurenko and became the first player eliminated across both singles’ draws.
"The match was definitely a little bit stop-and-start,” Burrage added. “Although I've had a lot of experiences over the last few weeks playing a lot of matches with delays and people in the crowd fainting actually. Again in Ilkley in the final, I think two people fainted in that one. I couldn't help them, they were up in the crowd.
"So I think I've got a lot of experience in just dealing with those stoppages. Actually after the rain delay, I came out and played a lot better. Obviously I spoke to my coaches, they gave me some pointers. It let me reset. So I actually think it was to my advantage, those delays. But I still couldn't put out the level of tennis I wanted to put on the court."