Pune, Jan 20 : A total of 30 kids were selected as ball kids for the upcoming third edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra, scheduled to be played here at the Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium, from February 3 to 9. These 30 kids were selected through trials conducted on Sunday by ITF tournament official, Sheetal Iyer who conducted various tests, including hand-eye coordination, speed and agility tests among 55 shortlisted kids.
Earlier, around 55 budding tennis enthusiasts were shortlisted from the 100 players, including girls and boys, who showed interest and took part in the selection trials at Deccan Gymkhana in Pune.
Being a ball kid is always a unique experience for the youngsters and an opportunity to watch the top tennis stars closely. World’s top tennis players, including legendary Roger Federer, have worked as ball kid during their childhood. ''There has been a huge craze amongst youngsters about Tata Open Maharashtra and we received a huge response this time as well for the selection. The experience will be valuable for them in future and will surely inspire many to take up the sport professionally in the future,'' said Prashant Sutar, Tournament Director of Tata Open Maharashtra. Shravin Samak, who was part of the ball kids’ contingent from the previous edition of the tournament, has also been selected for this year’s Australian Open ball kid contingent.
This is a huge opportunity for the Pune boy and the same for many of the young tennis enthusiasts as they brace for the third edition of India’s one of the oldest running tournaments. ''The role of ball kid is something which helps kids to not only get inspired by watching the top players from close angles but also to learn a lot of things from players such as their attitude about game, concentration on the court, '' said Sundar Iyer, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA). (UNI)