Tennis: It takes balls to do this. And this girl's got 'em

  • @susborne

Unless you like A Question of Sport, you might find the cute antics of tennis pros as tiresome as Sue Barker’s banter. When Pat Cash clambered up the stands to hug his coach after his 1987 Wimbledon win, it was surprising, moving. But after the 100th copycat?

See also the fan/ballboy knock-up, when a young person is applauded for whacking a shot into the net as rapturously as a Labrador might be for conducting the Last Night of the Proms.

Credit, then, to Rafael Nadal for mixing things up a bit. In a match against Juan Martin del Potro in New York, he appointed the comedian Ben Stiller his doubles partner. Not to be outgunned, Del Potro teamed  up with a nine-year-old  audience member.

Stiller tried to psych out the girl, who turned out to be  great, outfoxing her comedy opponent with a particularly strong volley. In short, it more fun than lame.

With guest players back in their seats, Del Potro later won the game – and thankfully kept his feet on court. Watch it here: