Serena Williams displayed her tender side again on Thursday when she spoke of her meeting with five-year-old cancer sufferer Jack Marshall during this year's championship.
"I kind of met him on Twitter. His mum Tracey wrote to me. I read his story, and my heart kind of went out for him," the 13-times grand slam champion told reporters after securing a place in the third round by beating Romania's Simona Halep.
"I thought if I made it to Wimbledon, I wanted to invite Jack out. I got to meet him yesterday. We spent some time together," she said of Manchester United fan Jack, who lives in the north of England.
"They gave me one of his bands that I can wear and you can help him. It's just been so amazing, his whole story, to be so small to have such courage. He calls me his best bud, so I love it."
After a year battling a serious foot injury and then suffering life-threatening blood clots Williams has been in a serene mood since returning at Eastbourne last week.
The emotional effects of her longest ever break from tennis caught up with her on Tuesday when she wept on court after beating Frenchwoman Aravane Rezai in round one.
On Thursday, Williams scored a comfortable 3-6 6-2 6-1 victory over Simona Halep .