For Juan Martin del Potro, no good deed goes unpunished.
The world’s fifth-ranked tennis player had his suitcase stolen Saturday when he was asked to sign an autograph at a Paris train station. Among the items he lost was a rosary blessed by Pope Francis.
According to USA TODAY Sports, del Potro, who had lost one day earlier to Roger Federer at the Paris Masters, was checking in at the Gare du Nord train station and was asked for his autograph. Del Potro was on his way to London to prepare for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals.
“I was finishing the check-in and was asked for an autograph,” del Potro said in a statement. “I turned around to sign it and within 20 seconds, it was stolen.”
The criminal took money, del Potro’s passport and a rosary that Pope Francis personally blessed when del Potro met the pontiff in Rome earlier in 2013.
USA TODAY Sports reported that del Potro spoke to French police and arrived some two hours late to his scheduled pre-tournament press conference where he talked about the incident with the media.
Del Potro said he was most upset about losing the rosary, which he carried everywhere.
“That’s important for me but the other things (don’t) matter,” he said.
USA TODAY Sports added that del Potro did feel fortunate that the incident was a minor in in terms of danger.
“It’s over, I’m safe, so it’s nice,” the Argentine player said.
The robber did not take any of del Potro’s rackets, the report said. According to USA TODAY Sports, the player was down to his last two preferred rackets at the Paris Masters last week.
The eight-player ATP World Tour Finals runs from Monday-Nov. 11.
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