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4 March 2012

Barclays Ball Kids


A Day of Fun On-Court in Bristol

The David Lloyd Club in Bristol was in full swing last Sunday as nearly 100 eager applicants vied to make it through to the final trial to become a Barclays Ball Kid. Children between the ages of 12-16 turned up in their droves to see if they had what it takes to make it to the top where they would walk out on court with the likes of Federer, Murray and Nadal at the end of season Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in London.

And it appeared that the lucky trio that progressed had prepared themselves thoroughly for the day. Mark Pratt (aged 13), Emma Hancock (14) and 16 year-old Abigail Lawrence were the kids that showed the most promise on the day and out shone all the other talent on display throughout the day.

Abigail summed up the excitement of all three of the kids:

“I’d love to be a Barclays Ball Kid because I’ve always aspired to be one and I’d love to be really close to the players. I think the coaches are looking for people who are alert and looking awake and today we were shown how to release the ball and how to throw the ball properly to the player. I watched all the demos carefully and took everything in so I can’t wait to see if I get in or not for the final trial. If I was picked to be in the final 30, it would be a dream come true and this is also the last year I can do it so I am even more hopeful!”

They will now take the slightly longer journey to the Westway in London on April 28th for the final selection trial where the heat will really be turned up on the 100 finalists. The Barclays Ball Kids Talent ID Team will cast their eye over the best ball kids the UK has to offer and help to pick a final squad of thirty for the world's most prestigious and glamorous indoor tournament at The O2 in November.

It is an opportunity these kids will never experience again and they are one step closer to living the dream. Many of the entrants in Bristol at the weekend aspire to play tennis at a high level and others have already sampled a glimpse of the big time having played tennis at county level. But the skills needed to become a Barclays Ball Kid aren’t simply aligned to those of a tennis player.

Whatever happens at the final trial in London, these kids have been given an opportunity to do something different, something that they can be proud of. If they also get to walk out on court with Murray and Federer then that is simply a bonus. From thousands of applicants all over the UK, they are already amongst the top 100. All that stands between them and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is one more gruelling session of skill and determination. This is their opportunity to shine. This is their opportunity to focus and reach for the prize.

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