'Love this': Maria Sakkari's beautiful act for French Open ballboy

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Maria Sakkari, pictured here asking if the ballboy needed a break.
Maria Sakkari asked if the ballboy needed a break from holding the umbrella. Image: Roland Garros

Maria Sakkari showed her class on and off the court as she became the first Greek woman to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam at the French Open on Wednesday.

The Greek star ensured the French Open will crown a brand-new grand slam champion on the women's side after shocking defending champ Iga Swiatek in straight sets.

'IT'S ABSURD': Tennis fans seethe over Nadal and Djokovic 'disgrace'

'ABSOLUTE JOKE': Uproar over 'ridiculous' scenes at French Open

Sakkari, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Barbora Krejcikova or Tamara Zidansek will continue the recent trend of new grand slam champions after another tournament littered with surprises.

Sakkari is the highest-ranked player left in the field at World No.18, 67 places above Zidansek - the first woman representing Slovenia to make the last four of a slam.

The Greek player was brilliant on Wednesday as she sent Swiatek packing 6-4 6-4.

But it wasn't just her play on the court that had tennis fans in awe.

Social media users erupted over a beautiful moment late in the match when Sakkari asked the chair umpire if the ballboy who had been holding an umbrella over her needed a break.

The young boy had been shading Sakkari from the sun all match so Sakkari suggested to the umpire that they get a different ballkid to take over.

The French Open's official account tweeted the video, writing: "Kindness always wins. Lovely gesture by Maria Sakkari."

Belgian great Kim Clijsters was among those who tweeted their appreciation, writing: "I love this."

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.
This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Four semi-final debutante's in French Open final four

It would have been a million to one shot for anyone to predict the wholly improbable final quartet in this year's French Open women's draw.

Sakkari will play Krejcikova, an unseeded Czech who ended the run of American teen sensation Coco Gauff 7-6 (8-6) 6-3.

Another non-seed, Zidansek takes on Russian 31st seed Pavlyuchenkova - the 29-year-old who had previously reached six grand slam quarter-finals without progressing.

It's only the second time in the Open era there have been four first-time semi-finalists at a slam, but Sakkari was quick to defend their quality.

Maria Sakkari, pictured here after her victory over Iga Swiatek at the French Open.
Maria Sakkari celebrates her victory over Iga Swiatek at the French Open. (Photo by Tnani Badreddine/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

"All of us have been playing really good this year," she said, suggesting the world rankings during the pandemic-hit period for the game had obscured the real form horses.

"You cannot really see what is the real ranking. So that's why it's a surprise for everyone.

"We are four very good players - players that can win a title, for sure!"

Inspired by the memory of her late mentor and former Wimbledon champ Jana Novotna, Krejcikova believes she can win the whole thing too.

A five-time grand slam champ in mixed and women's doubles, Krejcikova is also into the French Open semis with Katerina Siniakova.

"Everybody just put a label on me like, 'You are a doubles specialist.' But I never thought I just want to be a doubles specialist," she said.

"I always felt ... sooner or later, I'm just going to get there."

with agencies

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.