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Things you only know if you’re a Wimbledon ball girl

By
Danielle Goldstein
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…according to Kate Davies, 15.

Not all ‘ball kids’ actually like tennis

‘I’m quite sporty, but I don’t play tennis. A lot of people do this job simply because it’s an incredible experience. You don’t even particularly have to like tennis, but obviously you have to know the rules inside out.’

Jobs on court are allocated by height

‘You don’t have to be a certain height to be a ball kid, but normally the “centres”, who kneel by the net, are smaller and are better at rolling the ball. The “bases” at the back of the court are taller and have to make sure they feed the players with balls and towels.’

Ball kids get paid pretty well

‘Your pay depends how long you stay on for: in the second week, as fewer courts are in use, fewer people are needed. But last year I was there for the full two weeks and I got paid £250 for four or five shifts a day: one hour on and one hour off.’

Just occasionally, ball kids are asked to step up on court

‘Last year when I was working on the men’s invitational doubles, which are usually less serious than the other games, I was asked to play for a point. We get asked every now and again, and I was quite excited when it happened. Unfortunately I wasn’t that good!’

Rolling a ball is more difficult than you’d imagine

‘I really struggled with rolling when I started. I practise at lunchtimes to make sure I can get it parallel to the court in a straight, flat line. If you’re too far forward or if your back foot isn’t straight, the ball won’t run parallel. It’s harder than it looks!’

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships.

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