If you are a ball kid in need, hope you play a Shang Juncheng match.
Fans witnessed an amazing sports performance by the world’s number 344 Chinese player at the Lexington ATP Challenger Tour event this week. 17-year-old American Stefan Dostanic was engaged in a three-set battle in scorching temperatures in the US state of Kentucky when Shang spotted a ballkid, Atharva Dang, in distress.
What a sportsmanship
In Lexington, 🇨🇳 Juncheng Shang noticed a ball boy was not feeling well and was there to help him get some rest
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) August 3, 2022
After asking Atharva if he was okay, Shang exclaimed, “He’s going to pass out!” Immediately, Shang set down his racket and helped the overheated boy, lifting him in his arms and chasing him behind the referee’s seat and out of direct sunlight. After putting him in the shade, Shang handed Atharva a bottle of water and placed an ice pack behind his head.
“I turned to ask for the ball. When the ball kid handed me the ball, it looked like he couldn’t stand,” Shang said. “I asked him, ‘How are you?’ and he said, ‘I don’t feel well.’ He staggered towards me and I felt like he was going to pass out right away. I just did everything I could with my gut feeling,” the teen recalls.
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Since that moment of sportsmanship, everything has been good for both Shang and the Atharva. They got back together for a photo the next day and Dang took part in a local tournament on Friday. Shang has advanced to the semi-finals in Lexington, making it 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 racket and helped me to the side where they gave me ice.”
In Saturday’s semifinal, Shang will take on No. 229 American Aleksandar Kovacevic, who had six championship points two weeks ago but was unable to convert, against another Chinese player, Wu Yibing, in the Challenger Tour final in Indianapolis.