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Ball boy hit by 204 kph serve at Shanghai Masters
   2016-10-14 19:13:22    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Fei Fei

Ball boy Chen Jiarui is hit by a 204 kph serve by Canada¡¯s Vasek Pospisil on October 12, 2016 at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. [Photo: ATP World Tour]

A young ball boy at this year's Shanghai Masters tennis tournament has caught the attention of the crowds, after taking a hit from a serve measuring over 200-kilometers per hour.

CRI's Victor Ning has more.


It was the final set between Canada's Vasek Pospisil and Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov as they fought for a place in the final 16. The Bulgarian missed a powerful serve by Pospisil, and the ball flew directly at a young ball boy, hitting him in the upper stomach.

The boy, named Chen Jiarui, could not hold back his tears, soliciting gasps from the audience.

Pospisil quickly put up his hands and apologized to the boy.

Dimitrov then rushed over, bending down to pat Chen on the head.

The audience applauded Dimitrov as he comforted the boy, gifting the youngster his sweatband.

Chen Jiarui, a fifth grader from Shanghai, and also a tennis player, explains the episode from his perspective.

"Pospisil made the serve, and I moved left to dodge it. But then Dimitrov hit the serve with the edge of his racket, changing its trajectory, so it hit me. My move, combined with the racket touching the ball, led to the hit. "

Fortunately, no major damage was done. Chen Jiarui managed to finish the game, earning praise from Dimitrov, who later tweeted that the boy was "one of the bravest kids" he has ever met.

This is Chen's first time as a ball boy at the Shanghai Masters.

Despite taking a tough hit, the young man says he plans to return next year.

A total of 72 ball boys and girls are serving at this year's Shanghai Masters, ranging from 5th graders all the way up to University students.

They have been selected through an open recruitment process and then trained in tennis rules and basic English before the event.

As matches don't start until the afternoon and can last well into the evening, the ball boys and girls usually have very long work days.

Receiving only a small stipend for their work, these young people say they mostly derive their reward from being able to see their favorite tennis stars up close.

Chen Jiarui's tennis idols include Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal, who have all played in Shanghai this year.

Chen says he has been impressed by the players he has seen so far.

"The players are all very nice and polite. When I hand them their towels, they would say 'thank you' to me. "

For ball girl Xie Shiyu, who currently attends the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, learning from the world's best tennis talent is a rare opportunity.

"I can learn from them how they treat every point and how they adjust themselves when they fall behind or make mistakes. I can observe how they ready themselves for the next challenge or next point."

The ball boys and girls will be in action throughout the weekend as the winner of this year's Shanghai Rolex Masters will be crowned on Sunday.

For CRI, I'm Victor Ning.

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