An exciting experience at the Australian Open
During the January school holidays I was fortunate enough to be one of 300 teens selected from across Australia and other countries to be a ball kid for the 2019 Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam tournament. I applied a year ago and after two selection trials in Sydney I travelled to Melbourne for further selection trials for the Australian Open Squad. I actually had to travel to Melbourne more than half a dozen times throughout 2018 as part of an elimination process. In this process we trained hard over the weekend and had training sessions that were up to four hours a day. We had to practice servicing the player, our agility and hand eye coordination in rolling and receiving the ball.
The final squad of 312 ball kids was selected late last year. There were five people chosen from NSW and two from each other state in Australia with the majority of kids from Melbourne as well as a small number from Korea, China, India and France. I was overjoyed and excited to be selected as this year long process and training was all worth it.
I was required to be in Melbourne for three weeks in January because we were ball kids for the qualifying rounds as well as the Australian Open. Each ball kid was assessed each time they went on court and given a rating. This determined which matches you were given the following day. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to work on Rod Laver Arena centre court and be a ball kid for many top players including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Ashleigh Barty, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniaki. It was such an honour to be a ball kid for these amazing tennis players. I also was given the opportunity to do a media afternoon with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison. I was one of five girls to meet the Prime Minister where he announced a large government contribution towards promoting girls tennis.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this experience. It is one I will never forget and I have learnt so much along the way and what it takes to be a ball kid.