Mt Eliza juniors roll into Aus Open

Having a ball: Ball boy and girl, Sam McComb, Sophie Farish and Hope Backx. Picture: Gary Sissons

THREE talented juniors from the Mount Eliza Tennis Club will finally get their chance to assist the world’s best tennis players at the Australian Open on Monday 14 January.

Having spent the past nine months undertaking rigorous training and testing, Sam McComb, Hope Backx and Sophie Farish will step out onto the court alongside some of sporting’s greats.

It’ll be Sophie’s second time assisting as a ballkid at the Australian Open, while 14-year-olds Sam and Hope will be having their first go at the trade.

It’s no mean feat to make it through to the final group of 312 ballkids, with the three juniors being selected out of a starting group of more than 3,500 other juniors who began training in May last year.

As well as being ballkids for the Australian Open, the juniors will also help out at qualifying events, junior events and wheelchair tennis competitions in preparation for the main event.

Mount Eliza Tennis Club coach David Laird said it’s great to see some of their own talent land such a huge achievement.

“It’s always good to see the ones who are really keen, go out and try to get in,” Laird said.

“It’s a massive commitment with what they’re doing as they’re there all day but even the try-out process is a big effort. Just to be selected is a massive accomplishment in itself.

“I’m sure just witnessing and seeing the professionalism of the players will be good for their own development.”

The first couple of days at the Australian Open will determine what courts the ballkids will be allocated to for the remaining days.

Of the 312 juniors, 48 will also get chosen to stay on as a ballkid during the finals – an honour which they’ll all be striving for.

First published in the Frankston Times – 8 January 2019

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