After a huge response and interest shown by over 100 young enthusiastic tennis fans and budding players from Pune and Maharashtra, 30 lucky kids were selected as ball kids for the upcoming third edition of the Tata Open Maharashtra at Deccan Gymkhana in Pune on Sunday.
55 budding tennis enthusiasts were shortlisted from the 100 players, including girls and boys, who took part in the selection trials, conducted by International tournament official, Sheetal Iyer who conducted various tests, including hand-eye coordination, speed and agility tests among 55 shortlisted kids to finally pick the best 30 of them.
The 30 chosen tennis enthusiasts will be seen as ball kids during the third edition of South Asia’s only ATP Tour Tournament. 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 as expected, 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. This is considered as a first step towards the big dream of playing. Lot of big tennis players have taken up ball kid role during their childhood and learned a lot about the game and I hope these kids also will make their experience count here,” said Sundar Iyer, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA).
The tournament, which is scheduled from February 3 to 9 at Mhalunge Balewadi Stadium, will be organised by MSLTA in association with the Government of Maharashtra and the qualifiers will be played on February 1 to 2, 2020.