© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Nadal drinks bottles

How to behave as a ball kid


Greg Rusedski, a former US Open finalist, tells The Tennis Space how leading players expect the ball kids to behave. Rusedski was speaking at the National Selection Trial for the Barclays Ball Kids who will be on court at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November.

Read the players’ codes
“Every player has their habits. Mine was my towel. You actually have to read a player’s code, and that can be very challenging. If a player looks in a certain way, that could mean that he wants the towel or it could be that he wants the ball. You have to know. Some players do things a certain way. When Federer is preparing to serve, he sometimes flicks a spare ball back behind him at the ball kids, does trick shots. But Federer is very polite, treats the players very well. He was a ball kid himself.”

Don’t move Rafa Nadal’sĀ bottles
“Rafa likes to have his bottles in the right place at all times. Whatever you do, don’t move them.”

Don’t watch the tennis, watch what is happening with the ball
“It can be overwhelming the first time you run out there in front of 17,500 people at the O2. You might have Federer or Nadal playing. But you don’t watch the tennis, you watch what is happening with the ball. That can be the most difficult part. You need concentration and you need to be able to read the game.”

Try not to be noticed
“You’re doing a good job if the players don’t really notice you.”