Tennis

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Former Wimbledon ball boy spills the beans on working with professional tennis stars

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This year’s Wimbledon ball boys and girls have had to be on their toes even more than usual; the particularly hot and dry conditions prevailing at this year’s tournament have seen the bigger servers consistently achieving first serves of 140+ mph.

Instances of ball kids and line judges being struck by serves has been anything but a rare occurrence, a hazard of the job that they are surely prepared for.

With the sometimes perilous job of keeping the game ticking over kept in mind, which players make it easy for the ball kids to get on with their job, and who would they rather avoid?

One former Wimbledon ball boy has divulged his opinion, and while the results are not necessarily surprising, they make for interesting reading.

Speaking to the Express, the ball boy said of Roger Federer: "Roger Federer is an absolute gentleman in everything he does - and he was just like that with us."

Known for his virtually unflappable demeanour both on and off the court, it comes of little surprise that Federer is spoken highly of by the ball kids.

He continued: "Rafael Nadal is great too. He asks for his towel a lot - in fact, he has two he uses after every point - but I never had any problems with him."

Known for his finicky habits as much for his intense focus and drive, especially when it comes to the layout of his water bottles and his instinctive shorts pulling before serving, Nadal is summed up: "The only problem with doing one of Rafa's matches is that he's very OCD.

"He likes to have everything exactly how he wants it, with his equipment, with his water bottles."

TENNIS-GBR-WIMBLEDON
Both Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams came in for praise, although of the latter, the ball boy was quoted: "The ball boys and girls have to be on their toes with her (Serena Williams). She has little habits that they have to remember, such as which side to feed the balls from."

Who would the ball boys and girls avoid if they were given the choice?

Well that would be the recent runner-up of the BBC’s ‘Most Boring British Tennis Player’ poll Andy Murray.

Without giving away too much, the former ball boy said: "The worst has to be Andy Murray. He can just be so grumpy on the court. So can Nick Kyrgios too."

Day Thirteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2016

Both men have a reputation for on-court antics and often play as if they have the entire world upon their shoulders.

Although in Murray’s case, for the best part of 10 years he really did carry an entire nation’s hopes on his 1.9 metres frame such was the lack of competition from other ranked British players.

Now that burden of Britain’s expectations is shared with Kyle Edmund, perhaps we’ll see a more relaxed, jovial Murray on the court when he returns from injury fully fit

Topics:
Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
Serena Williams
Nick Kyrgios
Tennis

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