Francesca Schiavone was down 0-6, 0-2 in her first-round match with world No. 1 Serena Williams at the U.S. Open when she needed an assist from the ball boy.
The Italian had won just 25% of her first-serve points, had recently been on the losing end of a fantastic 26-point rally and had become such a sympathetic figure that the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium resorted to giving her sympathy cheers.
With all that going against you, sometimes a girl just needs a hug.
After the match, Schiavone was asked about the impromptu hug:
“I don’t need a hug in that moment, I need a game — points. I went to the ballboy to say, ‘Well, that’s tough.’ No, it was just a joke.”
The loss surely won’t stay with Schiavone long. The 33-year-old has struggled when not on her favored surface of clay this year, but when she returns home to Milan, she can take some comfort in that 2010 French Open trophy on her mantle.