It was a grab reminiscent of that famous Jeffrey Maier incident, except this time the ballgame wasn’t on the line.
As Novak Djokovic was changing his clothes for the awards ceremony after his record-breaking Australian Open victory over Rafael Nadal, he walked over toward the crowd and threw his shirt to 14-year-old Melissa Cook.
His toss wound up getting intercepted by Yael Rothschild, a middle-aged mother of three, who seemingly showed no remorse for her appalling display.
“I started crying because I couldn’t believe that something I truly believe he meant for me was taken by someone else,” Cook told Australia’s Herald Sun.
“I had been yelling out to him the whole match and he had looked up and acknowledged me and then at the end he came straight over to my direction and threw the shirt up.”
Yael Rothschild has heard the teenager’s plight, but she doesn’t care. She says she’s keeping the shirt, adding that it was fair game for anyone in the first few rows.
“When the shirt was thrown, there would have been 20 excited people, all with their hands out,” she told the Herald Sun. “After (it had been) thrown, there would have been 19 disappointed people. Such is life. I am not sure how you can snatch out of the hands (of) someone sitting three seats away from you with a barrier between the seating.”
She said she thought Melissa had caught other items thrown by the champ after Sunday night’s final.
“She was seen holding his sweat band, his towel and his shoe – not a bad night’s winnings.”
Melissa says this isn’t true. She says she had taken along items that had been caught by relatives during the 2011 Australia Open.
“And the towel she saw me with wasn’t even Djokovic’s – it was given to me by an official,” Melissa said.
Rothschild said she was a regular in those seats…so tough beans.
“Djokovic was so gracious to all his fans that he stayed back for a very long time, putting his autograph to the souvenirs of literally hundreds patiently waiting courtside after the match and formalities, T-shirt included,” she said.
How rude. You can tell that Djokovic was clearly trying to throw the shirt to Cook, and Yael Rothschild reached out and literally took candy from a baby.
Really though, is anyone surprised?
Check it out in the video below.
- Novak Djokovic Fan Is Tragically Robbed of Her Chance to Fondle His Shirt [Video] (jezebel.com)
- Mum denies stealing Djokovic shirt (news.ninemsn.com.au)
- Mum Snatches Novak Djokovic’s Shirt Away From School Girl [Video] (tennis-x.com)