Melissa Cook, 14, had a front-row seat cheering on Djokovic during his epic victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. When the world No. 1 finally defeated Nadal after five hours, 53 minutes, Cook managed to get his attention as he was changing clothes. Djokovic walked over to Cook to toss her a spare shirt, but it was grabbed instead by a woman sitting two seats away.
"I started crying because I couldn't believe that something I truly believe he meant for me was taken by someone else," the teenager told Australia's Herald Sun.
Yeah, that was pretty cold of that lady. Like we wrote on Sunday, she was like that guy at a baseball game who fights a little kid for a foul ball. There's nothing wrong with an adult catching something from an athlete. To take it from the hands of a child is unacceptable.
Cook wanted Djokovic's shirt to hang on the "Novak Wall" in her bedroom. From the looks of the video, it looks like the tennis star intended for her to get it.
"I had been yelling out to him the whole match and he had looked up and acknowledged me," she said. "Then at the end he came straight over to my direction and threw the shirt up."
Update: The woman has been identified as mother of three, Yael Rothschild. She's heard Melissa's story and insists she's keeping the shirt, saying that it was fair game for any of the spectators in the first few rows.
"When the shirt was thrown, there would have been 20 excited people, all with their hands out," she told the Herald Sun. "After (it had been) thrown, there would have been 19 disappointed people. Such is life. I am not sure how you can snatch out of the hands (of) someone sitting three seats away from you with a barrier between the seating."
Oh, I don't know. Because your arms are longer? Because you leaned over the railing? Because you put your hands in front of a teenagers and grabbed it first?
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- Novak Djokovic
- Rafael Nadal