Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Tennis twins help woman, son escape from hotel fire

AP , BORDEAUX, FRANCE

This undated photo shows twins Sonchat, left, and Sanchai Ratiwatana in the hotel hallway where they escaped a fire in Bordeaux, France. The brothers play professional tennis on the ATP tour as a doubles team.

PHOTO: AP

Twin brothers who play professional tennis as a doubles team helped the wife and son of another doubles player escape from a hotel fire.

Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand, who are 16th in the ATP doubles race, were making their way through thick, black smoke to exit their hotel when they heard someone calling for them.

It was the wife of Lucas Arnold Ker, who like the twins is in town for a Challenger Series tournament.

“After we got out of the room, we made some noise: ‘Is somebody still here?’” Sanchai said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “She called: ‘This way! This way!’”

The twins, who have won two titles on the ATP tour and expect to play at the French Open later this month, entered the room and found Arnold Ker’s wife and son.

“First, she wanted to use the blanket to go out the window,” Sanchai said. “But I said: ‘We can find the exit.’”

Sanchai said they left the room and re-entered the smoke-filled hallway with wet towels wrapped around the heads of the woman and boy. They then saw someone open the fire exit door and the four got out safely.

“OK, maybe we helped her, but she helped us,” Sanchai said. “If she didn’t call us, maybe we wouldn’t have found the exit. She saved our lives also.”

The brothers later learned that the fire started in another room on the third floor. No one was hurt, Sanchai said.

“I think we were the last to get out of the building,” Sanchai said.

It was unclear how the Monday morning fire started and the brothers have since moved to a room in another building at the same hotel complex.

After the fire, the Thai twins went ahead with business as usual, heading to the practice courts, and on Tuesday they won their opening match at the tournament.

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