Ball boys have a raw deal imo. Sure, they get to stand within a ball’s throw of their idols, but they also put up with a fair amount of shit: balls to the head / nads, unwarranted abuse from the likes of Nick Kyrgios and the constant handling of sweat-soaked towels that are no doubt stanky.

Why Won’t Tennis Australia Talk About That Court Splooge At The Aus Open?

If you were one of the record-breaking 2.7 million people who tuned in to watch the GOAT Roger Federer defeat Rafael Nadal in the epic Australian Open final at Melbourne‘s Rod Laver Arena, chances are you witnessed the very strange puddle of reddish-brown goop that appeared during the fifth set.

Fuelling speculation that Nadal may have either a) vomited, or b) shat himself was the fact he was seen apologising to the poor ball kid as he mopped up the v. questionable-looking liquid by the Spanish champ’s feet with a towel before scurrying back to the sidelines.

Have a look for yourself:

The exchange also went completely unaddressed by commentators, which made it all the more mysterious: if it was the result of a low-flying bird’s irritated bowel, why not just say so? Why not address its gut-drop directly, have a laugh and let the rest of us move on? WHAT ARE YOU HIDING, TENNIS AUSTRALIA.

Why Won’t Tennis Australia Talk About That Court Splooge At The Aus Open?

We needed closure, so PEDESTRIAN.TV reached out to ask the all-important question: did Nadal have an accident, or did a very ill bird?

The answer? Well, we’re still waiting for one. It’s been going on 26 hours since we contacted the TA press team with our inquiry, and it’s been like extracting teeth from a writhing child to get anything close to an explanation.

Here’s an abridged rundown of our communications:

Monday, 11:55am: P.TV calls TA and speaks with a press officer, who says she’ll reach out to court services for an answer.

Monday, 12:09pm: P.TV follows up the phone call with an email to put the request in writing. “As I mentioned, we’re trying to solve the mystery of what Nadal called to have wiped off the court last night. Would be amazing if you could please reach out to court services to confirm so we can include it in our story? Our deadline is 1pm.”

Monday, 1:36pm: P.TV emails again.

Monday, 1:48pm: TA replies to say it’s still chasing court services.

Monday, 3:54pm: P.TV emails to ask if court services has died, or something.

Monday, 5:46pm: P.TV emails again, politely suggesting this seems a very long time to wait to find out if Nadal shat himself on-court.

Monday, 5:57pm: TA replies to advise that court services is busy bumping out at Rod Laver Area and can’t be got hold of.

Monday, 6:01pm: P.TV replies asking if there’s an ETA on when we can expect an answer.

Monday, 6:29pm: TA advises it’s highly unlikely we’ll get anything before tomorrow.

At this point, I really, REALLY wanted someone – anyone – to tell me WHAT IN GOD’S NAME THAT BROWN SMEAR WAS JUST PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY PLEASE. So I dug up the mobile number of the press contact for Melbourne & Olympic Parks Trust – which manages Rod Laver and Margaret Court arenas, among others – to see if she could shed some light on the issue.


Monday, 6:44pm: P.TV emails MOPT with the same request.

Monday, 7:02pm: P.TV calls the MOPT press contact but there’s no answer (it is after-hours).

Monday, 7:51pm: P.TV receives a call back from MOPT, prompting shortlived excitement that the mystery was soon-to-be-solved. Alas, we’d apparently disturbed the press contact’s annual leave and she “wouldn’t even know where to begin getting an answer about what that was.” We suggested court services. She said speak to TA.

[Fast-forward one very sleepless night]

Tuesday, 9:01am: P.TV emails TA to request an answer by 10am. 

Tuesday, 10:52am: P.TV calls from another number and finally makes contact with TA, whose rep makes it clear we aren’t her first, second, third or even fourth priority. “It’s not really the sort of the thing we’d analyse. There may not be a definitive answer,” she says before hanging up on advising she’ll do her best to contact this mysterious court services by EOD.

May not be a definitive answer? Lady, there were 2.6 million spectators – someone out there knows the truth. 

If that person’s you, email us at editor@pedestriangroup.com.au and put us out of our goddamn mystery misery. 

Photo: Seven Network.