The first round Wimbledon clash between Jodie Burrage and Lesia Tsurenko was dramatically stopped on Monday when a ball boy fell unwell.
British player Burrage was quick to react she she noticed the youngster struggling, rushing court-side to and providing him with a drink She then waited with him for several minutes, also feeding him sweets that were provided by a generous spectator.
Eventually, medical help arrived on Court 18, and Burrage was able to continue with her match. And her quick-thinking actions were well received by fans who also questioned why the player herself was forced to take responsibility.
The @TennisPodcast account summarised the incident on Twitter, posting: “On Court 18, Jodie Burrage was quick to spot an unwell ballboy. Rushed to the chair to get him some sports drink, stayed with him as help took a long time to arrive.
“Then started feeding him Percy Pigs, provided by a helpful spectator.” @ZoeAnderson added: “Seeing Jodie Burrage sharing her Percy Pigs with the poorly ball boy has given my day a lift!”
However, @GrahamG14843952 echoed the sentiments of many who were left concerned by the apparent lack of staff: “Incredible that at a multi million pound tournament, NO medical help came – and a PLAYER had to help the poor kid.”
@richard_conway opted for a more comical take, posting: “Jodie Burrage helping a poorly ball boy at Wimbledon and feeding him some Percy Pigs as the rain clears. Throw an entertaining pigeon into the mix and that’s Wimbledon bingo.”
Ukrainian player Tsurenko, who had already taken the first set 6-2, was unmoved by the drama. And when play restarted, she cemented her grip on the clash, breaking Burrage before consolidating it to open up a 5-3 lead.
And there, the 33-year-old broke her opponent again to seal a spot in the second round. One more win and she’ll emulate her best ever tournament at Wimbledon, having reached the third round in 2017.
The clash represented a second appearance at SW19 for Burrage, following her tournament debut last year. The current world No 141 also went out in the first round on that occasion.
At least Burrage and Tusrenko were able to complete their clash, with rain expected to delay proceedings later on Monday. That won’t affect Centre Court, where defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic will get things underway against South Korean player Kwon Soon-woo.
Following Djokovic, Emma Raducanu will debut on the showpiece court against Belgian star Alison Van Uytvanck. And then Andy Murray will round things off when he gets his campaign underway in a clash with Australia’s James Duckworth.