Wednesday 28 September
Since 2014, Wuhan Open has attached great importance to the selection and training of ball kids. This year, the ball kids Selection & Junior Tennis Program launched on 11 June by 2016 Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open particularly aims to select excellent ball kids and provide them with the opportunity to engage in major tennis events and communicate with international tennis professionals.
Wuhan Open has also reached an agreement on ball kids’ tennis exchanges with Roland Garros as a way of building stronger links with the wider tennis world. Four young people from Wuhan were representing the tournament at Roland Garros earlier this year. Now four ball kids from France are here to represent their home tournament in Wuhan. These ball kids are hand-picked and have been around tennis superstars like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova at Roland Garros. This international exchange plan not only enables juniors to engage in major international tennis events but also builds a platform for international communication.
We spoke to the ball kids from Roland Garros here.
When asked about their first impression of the city, those ball kids all agreed that it was fabulous. After the training, their Chinese mentors Jack and Lucas would show them around many famous local spots and take them to enjoy some specialities. Although they were only staying in Wuhan for a short time, they quickly adapted to this large city with its wide, busy roads and unfamiliar culture. They said that they particularly love the food here - spicy but delicious.
Content with Wuhan Open’s Stadium and Qualified to be a Ball Kid
“So large and beautiful , the fully equipped Wuhan Open stadium can accommodate a great many tennis fans.” Julia said.
The group leader said: “Each kid serves different sessions. Pierre has served three matches, Julia two matches, Alexis four matches and Laurie even five matches.”
Though it was unexpectedly windy at night, they were confident enough to do a good job.
Learning from Each Other
Owing to their tough training and excellence, these four ball kids were selected to serve Wuhan Open on behalf of Roland Garros.
They had professionally served Roland Garros before. This time in Wuhan, it was totally different. “The training in France put emphasis on the details and preparations. While in China, we learned something new processes which took a long time to understand and digest.” Laurie said.
Professional Services for Stars
At 2016 Roland Garros, the interaction between the world No.1 Novak Djokovic and his ball kids impressed the world. He let the kid sit around and friendly chatted with him during the break. Pierre said that he had a deep impression on it. Actually, all of them had served a great many stars such as Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber and Stan Wawrinka.
Generally, ball kids always have friendly relationship with players. During the match, their cooperation and services are vital for players. Some lucky ball kids get a high five.
Memorable Experiences at Wuhan Open
The ball kids’ exchanges between Wuhan Open and Roland Garros happen every year. This year, four French ball kids, Pierre, Julia, Alexis and Laurie made friends with four Chinese ball kids at Roland Garros and kept contact with them. Now, they enjoyed the best hospitality in Wuhan and had a wonderful learning experience in China through this program.