See below James McGerity's account of his experience in being part of the Ball Crew this year at the recent AEGON Trophy and Challenge events which were held at the Nottingham Tennis Centre. James was awarded the Ball Kid of the Week award.
Well, where to start?!
All I can say is a great once in a lifetime experience to push through the intensive training course and vigorous selection to be finally chosen to be a ball boy at the Aegon Trophy Tournament.
The week started off with the Women’s qualifying rounds. I was quite nervous in the first match but with a good team and friendly umpire we pushed through.
On Monday, a final of the men’s qualifying was my favourite game. The stakes were high with two of my favourite players, the Prakash Amritraj from India, and the Australian Greg Jones. As well as them both being quite humorous players to the ball boys, the tennis really was top rate. Being a budding tennis player myself, it really was a wake-up call to what I could achieve as a tennis player. After a tiebreak and long deuces, Prakash Amritraj finally won but Greg Jones was unlucky. I felt sorry for Greg when he broke down, but I asked for his autograph and praised him for his great display of the game.
As well as being 7 times on Centre court, watching 5 finals, 4 semi-finals, 2 quarter finals and a 1st round match, that match is still my favourite.
With the Ball Crew coaches Callum, Mel and Mary, plus one of my mates, Joel (who’s done it for five years), we had lots of funny moments. They really were the best!
The highlight of the tournament though was winning the ‘Best Ball Boy of the Week’ and getting the prize of a signed ball with all the players’ signatures. It really was a great experience and I cannot wait until I hopefully do it again next year and be able to coach one day as Callum said - which is hopeful. A truly great experience and to be shown the real grit and determination it takes to be a tennis player. What a fantastic tournament!
By James McGerity
Farnsfield Tennis Club
Pictured with Club Coach, Matt Benson