Adorable moment Rafael Nadal kisses ballgirl on cheek after striking her with stray ball

Adorable moment Rafael Nadal kisses ballgirl on cheek after striking her with stray ball

Rafael Nadal has proved to be a class sportsman both on and off the court, after making a heartwarming gesture to a ballgirl he accidentally hit in the head.

During his Thursday night Australian Open match against Federico Delbonis, the Spanish champion accidentally hit a ball straight down the line and into the head of a ballgirl standing beside the umpire's chair.

Immediately, gasps erupted throughout the court, but the young girl stoically remained at her post, despite becoming teary-eyed.

Immediately after the incident, Nadal ran over to the young girl to check she was okay, and planted a kiss on her cheek as an apology.

Check out the heartwarming moment in the video below:

The moment came during the third set of his second-round win over Federico Delbonis - which he won 6-3 7-6 6-1 moments later. Following the match, Nadal would once again check on the youngster, much to the delight of the crowd in the Rod Laver Arena.

And the 34-year-old champ proved his actions weren't just for the benefit of the live TV cameras when he sought her out at Melbourne Park during his day off on Friday (prior to his third-round match tomorrow).

Posting to his 8.5 million followers on Instagram, Nadal shared a picture of him and the ballgirl, who was later revealed to be 13-year-old Victorian Anita Birchall.

Check out footage from their adorable catch up:

He captioned the post: "Very happy to see that Anita is doing well. I also had the chance to meet her, her brother Mark and parents. Thank you."

In just 12 hours (as of this writing), the post has received more than 675,000 likes, and Nadal has been thoroughly praised in the comments section.

Credit: Instagram

Credit: Instagram

Credit: Instagram

One Instagram user with the handle devyash_randhawa commented: "Great gesture Rafa! That’s what makes you greatest of all! You not only amaze us with your game but also the way you conduct your living! Best wishes for Australia open! Be the best".

No matter what happens in the 2020 Open, Nadal will always be a champion in our eyes!