Roger Federer act comes to light after forbidden move from ball girl

The ball girl has opened up for the first time about the tennis legend’s actions afterwards.

A ball girl who famously wrote a message for Roger Federer in the clay at Roland Garros has opened up for the first time about how the tennis legend responded. Kenza Del grabbed headlines at the French Open in 2011 when she wrote ‘Allez Roger’ (Go Roger) in the red dirt during his loss to Rafa Nadal in the final.

Del’s actions went against grand slam protocols, with ball kids not allowed to show any form of support for the players during matches. But the youngster wrote her message of support for Federer anyway in a sweet moment that went viral at the time.

Ahead of the 2023 French Open, Del has re-lived the famous moment and opened up about how Federer responded after his loss. “It was a tough moment for him. And I don’t know why but I decided to write Allez Roger,” she said.

Del revealed how Federer later sent her the iconic red shirt he wore during that final in a frame, along with his autograph. “(The photographer) happened to know Roger’s agent, he sent him the picture,” she said

“And I guess Roger liked it, so he decided to thank me by sending me a little gift I received a few weeks later. I never got to meet the photographer (who took the photo), never got the chance to thank him. So, if he watches this video, if he hears me, I’ll be glad to thank him, because it’s all thanks to him.”

When the story did the rounds on Instagram this week, Federer commented: “Merci Kenza [Thank you Kenza]”. As it turns out, it wasn’t the only rule that Del broke during the tournament. “Back in the days, we used to have a little game with the other net ball kid,” she said. “We played some Tic-Tac-Toe on the clay. It was forbidden, of course.”


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