Wimbledon towel tennis fan gets replacement from Jack Sock
American boy initially identified as Irish in error had towel ripped from his hands
Peter Woodville, 14, with a towel given to him by American player Jack Sock (right), after the original towel thrown to him by Sock was ripped from his hands. Photograph: Faeze Woodville/PA Wire
A young tennis fan who attracted sympathy when a towel thrown to him by American player Jack Sock was ripped from his hands has received a replacement from the star.
Peter Woodville, 14, became the subject of an international search after a clip of the incident appeared on Twitter, with Judy Murray saying the adult Wimbledon spectator should be “ashamed” of his actions.
Sock, ranked 18, apologised to Peter and gave him a towel after winning his match in the first round of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon on Friday, when the teenager returned to the tournament to watch more tennis.
Peter, who is from Philadelphia in the United States, had been calling out to Sock to throw the towel to him at the end of the player’s singles match on Tuesday and was “shocked” when it was snatched from him, his mother said.
Faeze Woodville, 55, told the Press Association: “He was upset. He told me he was shocked more than anything.
“Because in the States at a lot of these sporting events, if adults catch a ball or something they go out of their way to give it to the youngsters. They don’t keep it for themselves.
“He was very disappointed and I think he was shocked.
“At school, he’s on a lot of sports teams and they learn a lot about good sportsmanship and good behaviour.”
The pair, who are flying back to the United States on Sunday, queued for more than five hours to return to Wimbledon on Friday and stayed to watch Sock’s doubles match.
Ms Woodville said: “We watched the match, which happily Jack won, and Peter walked up just to get an autograph from Jack.
“I think Jack recognised Peter and he chatted to him and said, ‘I’m really sorry buddy’, and shook his hand and signed autographs and gave him a towel.
“It was really nice, Peter was very happy.”
Super nice guy
Ms Woodville said it was “crazy” that Sock recognised Peter, but said he had been wearing a hat with a “very distinctive” logo from his Dad’s boarding school.
She said Peter and Sock walked together from the court to the players’ area, and described him as a “super nice guy”.
“The fact he even remembered any of this was really very nice of him,” she added.
After the incident on Tuesday, the player tweeted: “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.”
Sock’s agent Mary Jane Orman said on Wednesday that a boy from Ireland had messaged the player and a towel would be sent to him.
But on Saturday she said: “It seems the boy from Ireland who contacted Jack on Instagram is not the right boy, and it’s actually the boy from Philadelphia.”
She added that there would be no further comment on the story.
Peter, who plays tennis, is an avid fan of the game.
Ms Woodville said: “He loves to follow his favourite players and last year we went to the US Open and watched Jack’s matches there and Peter thinks, and I think, that Jack’s going to be one of the top players.”
She said that the Wimbledon towel would be a very special memento for the youngster, adding: “We live in the States, Peter’s a big fan of tennis, and it’s not very easy to get into Wimbledon.
“To have a Wimbledon towel means a lot more than if it was an event at home.”