Wimbledon fans were left feeling second-hand embarrassment for a ball boy who Kate Middleton appeared to accidentally snub after Sunday’s men’s singles final.
The Princess of Wales had the honour of delivering the trophy to champion Carlos Alcaraz, who beat legend Novak Djokovic in a five-set thriller. As she made her way out onto Centre Court, Kate walked past a line of young ball boys and girls, shaking their hands and sometimes having a brief conversation.
However, the first lad she passed didn’t receive a handshake, leaving viewers watching on the BBC stunned as the youngster maintained his composure. Many took to social media to express their surprise at the likely unintentional lapse, with one user saying: “Kate Middleton just totally blanked the first ball boy and shook hands with all the others, poor fella.”
A second noted: “Kate Middleton ignoring the first ball boy in the line up…” Another added: Kate came on court speaking to the ball boys and girl. But didn’t she miss out the first ball boy? How do you think he feels about that?” A fourth then replied: “It was very strange, not to mention unfortunate and embarrassing for the poor lad.”
Kate, 41, was in attendance with her husband, Prince William, and children George, nine, and Charlotte, eight. The princess is royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, a role she succeeded the late Queen Elizabeth II in six years ago.
Before Sunday’s match, Kate had attended day two of Wimbledon, where she sat next to eight-time champion Roger Federer, and Saturday’s women’s singles final. She was hailed for showing sympathy towards defeated finalist Ons Jabeur, hugging the teary-eyed Tunisian after she lost her second Wimbledon final in a row.
Watching from the royal box once again on Sunday, Kate witnessed 20-year-old Alcaraz spectacularly prevent Djokovic from winning his fifth successive Wimbledon title. The Spanish wonderkid described the win as the ‘biggest moment of his life’, adding: “I think it’s not going to change for a long time.”
Alcaraz, who was already ranked world No.1 aged 19, went on to say: “It’s something that I will never forget, that’s for sure. It’s great for the new generation, as well, I think to see me beating him and making them think that they are capable to do it, as well. It’s great for me and I think for the young players, as well.”
Meanwhile, Djokovic was praised was his classy post-match interview and felt that he was beaten by the better player on the day. “I haven’t played a player like him ever, to be honest,” the Serbian, who was hoping to go level with Federer on eight Wimbledon triumphs, declared.
“Roger and Rafa [Nadal] have their own obvious strengths and weaknesses. Carlos is a very complete player. Amazing adapting capabilities that I think are a key for longevity and for a successful career on all surfaces.”