A sweaty towel has divided the internet, with even Andy Murray’s mum Judy weighing in, and although most commentators came down on one side, it’s not clear who was in the right at this epic Wimbledon battle.
The debate kicked off after ESPN showed footage of US tennis player Jack Sock throwing his towel into the crowd. The souvenir was quickly grabbed by a teenage boy seated in the second row, at pretty much the same time as it was grabbed by an older man in a blue shirt in the front row.
An unedifying tugging match ensued, until the boy gave up, leaving the towel to the man.
The hat-wearing man had some backers who said he was the rightful owner of the towel, including Britain’s The Telegraph, which reported that “the trajectory of the throw was aimed directly ” at the man.
“In order to be the first to make hand-contact with the towel, the young lad – who was sat behind blue polo shirt-and-panama man, in the second row – had to reach over him. In my book, this makes him a personal-space invader,” the newspaper’s Richard Jones wrote.
But tennis fans on Twitter weren’t going to let the matter rest, especially as some appeared to believe that the boy had asked for the towel and that Sock meant to throw it to him.
Plenty of tweeters watching the match on TV weighed in, calling the towel-grabbing man an “overfed toff” and “old fart” who had no shame in grabbing a souvenir “from a kid”.
Even high-profile tennis mum Judy Murray called out the man.
The outrage caught the attention of Sock himself, who offered to make it up to the boy.
If anyone knows the kid that unfortunately had the towel ripped out of his hands…tweet his name at me and I'll be sure to get him one ??
— Jack Sock (@JackSock) July 4, 2017
As did the various tennis heavyweight bodies, including the Australian Open.
Happy to complete the towels Grand Slam 😉 ???
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) July 5, 2017
But, as rarely happens on social media, all’s well that ends well. The young fan was found and Sock’s agent told the BBC that the 17th seed had invited the boy to his matches and would send him a towel.
As an aside, Sock beat Chile’s Christian Garin in the first-round match.