Not a dry eye when tennis pro’s son runs to comfort dad after devastating defeat, opponent even loses it

(Video screenshots)

Just as his seven-year-old son was there by his side when he defeated semifinalist Marco Cecchinato at the 2019 French Open last month in Paris, France, so again was retiring tennis legend Nicolas Mahut’s son there by his side when he suffered a devastating four-set defeat last Friday.

“When Nicolas Mahut was eliminated from the third round of the tournament last week, he was visibly emotional. A top doubles player, the 37-year-old Frenchman had suggested this would be his last time playing singles at the tournament,” the Today show reported on Thursday.

“But that’s when Mahut’s young son ran onto the court to offer his dad a big, comforting hug. The boy’s sweet embrace prompted everyone to get a bit misty-eyed.”


See the other player in the video above? That was Mahut’s opponent, Argentinian tennis player Leonardo Mayer, 32. He looked pretty emotional himself, didn’t he?

See social media’s reaction to the hug below:

Mahut’s son, Nathaniel, has, it would appear, always been by his father’s side, or at least since he was born on Aug. 18, 2011.

“After he failed to qualify for the U.S. Open last year, the Frenchman’s son rushed to his dad’s side to give him a big bear hug,” Today noted.


Conversely, when Mahut and fellow French tennis player Pierre-Hugues Herbert won the men’s doubles title last summer, his son rushed out not to console him but rather to dance with him.

“No one was more happy for Mahut than his young son, who joined him in the celebration. Six-year-old Natanel even broke out in dance with the champions,” reported at the time.


There was celebration as well last month when Mahut defeated Cecchinato.

“The world No. 253-ranked home favorite came back from two sets down to eliminate defending semifinalist Marco Cecchinato, 2-6, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in front of a thrilled crowd on Sunday. A year after stunning Novak Djokovic in Paris, the No. 16-seeded Italian became the second seeded casualty, following No. 5 Angelique Kerber,” noted.

“It was an emotional win for the 37-year-old Mahut in many ways: he played on the new Court Simonne Mathieu, battled back from the brink against a proven clay-court player, took in a standing ovation with his son Natanel, and gained personal gratification after needing a wild card to get in.”



According to People magazine, Mahut began his career in professional tennis in 2010 and is best known for “playing in an historical match against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010. The record-breaking match clocked in at a total of 11 hours and five minutes and was played over three days.”

Though he lost that match, it cemented his place in tennis history to the point that the match has its own Wikipedia page!

“Both players broke numerous Wimbledon and tennis records, including each serving over 100 aces, with the match being referred to as ‘the endless match’. A rule change instigated for the 2019 Championships introducing a tie break in the fifth set means that the Isner-Mahut match will remain the longest match in Wimbledon tournament history, provided this change remains in place,” the page notes.

If you have some free time on your hand, you may watch the first round of the famous battle below. Keep in mind that the round lasted 25 minutes!

Here are some other interesting facts about Mahut, courtesy the ATP Tour, a worldwide to-tier tennis tour organized by the Association of Tennis Professionals:

He started playing tennis at the age of 5.

His mother passed away in March of 2005.

Growing up he admired legendary tennis player Pete Sampras, former professional French tennis player Yannick Noah and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

And remember the Isner-Mahut match mentioned earlier? He wrote a book about it.



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