WHEN the Australian Open comes to Melbourne this January, keep an eye out for Cape Paterson’s Macy Peterson who recently found out she will be taking to the court as a ball kid.
It was a fairly rigorous selection process for the 12-year-old, first-time ball kid, but she made it through the four training sessions, as the numbers were whittled down from thousands to just a 400-kid training team.
Macy is a big tennis fan. She has been playing since she was four years old and plays competitively for Wonthaggi, and of course her favourite player is Ash Barty.
Inspired by a day watching the Open last year, Macy spent a lot of time watching the ball kids and decided it was something that she could do.
“If I got on the court with the big players, then that would be really cool. I could try and watch what they do and learn from it for how I play.”
Macy has to do well to get there though, she starts a week before the tournament starts and will be servicing the matches for the wildcard spots in the competition.
The ball kids get graded for their performance in each of their matches, which determines whether they get scheduled for the big games on centre court.
“I’m quite short and there are a lot of tall kids in the group. They pick shorter people for the position at the net, so I might be getting some good games because of that.”
Earlier in December, Macy got her first run at a real game of tennis at the Australian Wheelchair Championships and the December Showdown.
It was a good opportunity to practice the important skills like rolling the ball flat and crossing the court quickly, as well the other duties the ball kids have, folding the towels, umbrella positioning and drying the court.
Macy picked up her uniform and says it looks great, but the colours the ball kids will be wearing is a closely guarded secret until the official launch of the open.
Macy’s mum Lyndal says that it has been a really exciting time for them, but she is looking forward to the end of Macy’s training regime and will stop rolling tennis balls down the hallway.