Chinese tennis star Shang Juncheng rescues heat-stricken Ballkid | ATP tour

If you’re a needy ballkid, you better hope you work a Shang Juncheng match.

Fans at the Lexington ATP Challenger Tour event this week witnessed a wonderful act of sportsmanship from the world No. 344 Chinese player. The 17-year-old and American Stefan Dostanic were locked in a three-set battle in scorching temperatures in the US state of Kentucky when Shang noticed a ballkid, Atharva Dang, in distress.

After asking Atharva if he was okay, Shang exclaimed, “He’s going to pass out!” Immediately, Shang put down his racquet and helped the overheated boy, scooping him up in his arms and hurrying him behind the umpire’s chair and out of direct sunlight. After setting him up in the shade, Shang gave Atharva a bottle of water and placed an ice pack behind her head.

“I turned to ask for the ball. When the ballkid gave me the ball, he looked like he couldn’t stand,” Shang said. “I asked him, ‘How are you?’ and he said, ‘I don’t feel well.’ He staggered and I felt like he was going to pass out right away. I just did everything I could do with my intuition, ”recalls the teenager.

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Since that moment of sportsmanship, all is well for the Shang and the Atharva. They got together for a photo the next day, and Dang took part in a local tournament on Friday. Shang qualified for the semi-finals in Lexington, becoming the youngest player to reach a Challenger semi-final since Carlos Alcaraz in Alicante in 2020.

“I remember everything,” Atharva said. “I remember giving him the ball and then he asked me if I was okay. I remember then he dropped his racquet and helped me to the side where they gave me ice.

In Saturday’s semi-final, Shang will face American Aleksandar Kovacevic, world number 229, who two weeks ago held, but could not convert, six championship points against another Chinese player, Wu Yibing, during of the Challenger Tour final in Indianapolis.

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