A bit of backseat tennis led to an embarrassing but hilarious moment Friday at Wimbledon, one of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments.
In the ladies’ doubles invitational, a small tournament for former pros, Kim Clijsters and Rennae Stubbs were facing off against Andrea Jaeger and Conchita Martinez on Friday. As Clijsters prepared to serve, she appeared to ask her partner where she should try to put the ball — on the inside or the outside, according to the Independent.
From the crowd, a fan shouted a suggestion that Clijsters serve towards the body. Given that tennis fans are usually extremely quiet before a serve, the suggestion was audible to both the players and on the television broadcast.
But instead of ignoring the heckling fan or complaining, Clijsters instead responded in kind, per the Telegraph.
“You said ‘body?’” Clijsters replied, according to video posted by the BBC. “Why don’t you go there?”
And she meant it. Together with her opponents, they got the fan, a middle-aged man, down on the court and gave him a racket.
There was just one problem: Wimbledon has a notoriously strict policy about what players can wear on the court. Everyone must wear all white, and the fan, identified by the Telegraph as Chris Quinn, was wearing blue shorts and a green T-shirt.
Thankfully, Clijsters had a quick fix in the form of a spare tennis skirt in her athletic bag, which she helped Quinn put on. He also got a white shirt and got into position to return to Clijsters’ serve.
Surprisingly, Quinn was actually able to return Clijster’s serve to the other side of the net, though he was unable to do it again with the return.
Still, the whole thing seems to have taught Quinn his lesson, as he playfully wrote on Twitter that the incident “will teach me to open my mouth again.”
Clijsters, for her part, was magnanimous in victory, responding on Twitter that Quinn was “awesome.”