The mascot kid programme presented by Nitto was launched in 2017. On Monday, it led to another unforgettable moment.
When Andrey Rublev walked on court, he took the hand of Nicole De Angelis and shared a nice word with her on the way to his chair.
“We do this often in tennis when we play on centre court. Often some kid is going with us. Obviously I don’t think that tennis players are thinking about these moments so much,” Rublev said. “But I think for the kids it can be a special moment if they are in love with tennis and they walk with one of their favourite players that they follow. For sure it’s an important moment and special.”
The mascot kid programme has been developed by Nitto in partnership with Casa UGI, a Turin-based volunteer organisation that supports children who are battling cancer and their families, doctors, nurses and volunteers. The children participating have either struggled with an illness or have a family member who is battling one.
Although players are focused on their match, they understand the importance of creating a special moment for the kids. Rublev is keen to maximise those opportunities.
“I try to be really nice and pay attention to these little details with the kids and moments like that for them to feel that they really enjoyed the moment,” Rublev said. “You want to know they didn’t have the feeling after [of], ‘No, I don’t know, he didn’t even give me a hand or something. I didn’t understand what I was doing there.’ I just try to avoid those thoughts or feelings from the kids.”
Afterwards, the kids watch the action alongside their families from some of the best seats inside the Pala Alpitour.
In a statement, Nitto said: “Nitto is supporting those who take on challenges. As title partner of the Nitto ATP Finals, we sincerely hope that many children will have an incredible experience at the Nitto ATP Finals, and that the heated battle between the world’s best players will become a treasured lifelong memory which will inspire them, as they move forward toward a bright future.”