Jack rubs shoulders with the stars at the 02

Monday, November 18, 2013

WEST BRIDGFORD'S Jack Hadley was the British star at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in the absence of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray – and he admitted he loved every minute of it.

Having won a nationwide competition, the 15-year-old Rushcliffe School pupil shared the court with the cream of world tennis at the O2 Arena as one of 30 Barclays Ball Kids.

Back surgery put an end to Wimbledon champion Murray's hopes of appearing but Hadley still rubbed shoulders with this year's French Open and US Open winner Rafael Nadal in London.

And after playing a starring role in the capital Hadley – who saw off thousands of youngsters to get his eight days of fame – insisted it was an experience he would never forget.

"It was really good fun, a lot better than I could have imagined," said Hadley – who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the O2.

"Every time I stepped on court I got goosebumps. I've been to Wimbledon before and it's so loud but at the O2 it was even louder.

"I got to go on court with people like Nadal, Wawrinka, Ferrer. We spoke to Del Potro off the court too and that was brilliant. You try not to get star struck because you watch them on TV and then they are right in front of us.

"All my friends and family saw me on TV, it's weird, apparently the phone at home kept ringing with people saying they had seen me.

"This is definitely the best thing I have done, it's also the life skills you gain like communication skills and making new friends."

Six-time Grand Slam winner Boris Becker helped chose Hadley, who plays at Nottingham Tennis Centre and West Bridgford Tennis Club, for the O2 role where he caught the eye of 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro.

Del Petro met Hadley off the court at the O2 to give him hints and tips and the world No.5 admitted he did a sterling job for all the players involved, not just himself.

"I was ten-years-old (when I was a ball boy) at a Futures tournament in Buenos Aires and I remember all the players who played that tournament," said Del Potro.

"I know how big it is for the ball kids, meeting all the players, giving the balls to all of us. They are so fast, they are so good, they make our job very easy.

"I think they're great, they're smart, they know when we ask for our towels, our drinks and they are so professional too."

For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London next year please go online and visit www.barclaysballkids.com


Reproduced courtesy of Nottingham Post



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