It must rank as one of the most endearing moments of this year’s Wimbledon – when a four time Grand Slam winner invited a spectator to join in her match.
Kim Clijsters beckoned a fan onto the court during her invitation doubles match on Friday, after he shouted out his suggestion for where she could serve. But instead of upbraiding him for his cheek, Clijsters – a three times US Open winner and twice Wimbledon semi finalist – invited him to face her serve by taking the place of her opponent at the other end of Court Three.
Clijsters had just asked her teammate, the Australian Rennae Stubbs, whether she should serve wide or down the middle when the front-row fan shouted out his suggestion from his courtside seat.
“You said ‘body?’” Clijsters asked in response. “Why don’t you go there?”
At the far end of the court their opponents, Conchita Martinez and Andrea Jaeger, joined in the fun and offered to let the man, later named locally as father of three Chris Quinn, from Co. Wicklow, Ireland, join their team.
There was one tiny problem however. Wimbledon’s strict code requires that every player wear all-white and with his rather baggy green top and blue shorts Mr Quinn was in breach of the rules.
Which is why spectators then witnessed the sight of Clijsters taking a spare white skirt from her tennis bag, along with a white quarter zip jacket, and attempt to pull it over his rather ample girth.
Mr Quinn bravely managed to pull the skirt up as Clijsters, 34, lost her composure and collapsed laughing onto the court. Not that she lost the ability to teach him a lesson, slamming a serve to his body which, miraculously, he managed to get his racquet to and return, only to net his second volley.
Thank you for going easy on me with the serve. You have made me a bigger hero to my 3 daughters who worship you BTW.
— chris (@chrisquinnirl) July 15, 2017
Clearly enjoying his moment in the spotlight Mr Quinn gestured for her to serve again.
“One more,” he said. Again he lost the point and, after hugging the players and having his picture taken with them, left the court and returned to his seat.
Clijsters and Stubbs went on to win the match 6-2, 7-5.
Mr Quinn later thanked Clijsters, writing on Twitter: “Thank you for going easy on me with the serve. You have made me a bigger hero to my 3 daughters who worship you by the way.”
He added: “Will teach me to open my mouth again. They were awesome. And I got to play in Wimbledon. One off the bucket list.”
Source: The Telegraph