More than 10 children are standing in a long line on their knees. Busy wiping and wiping the rain-soaked coat with a towel. There shouldn’t be any water left behind where they have passed.
When you think of ball kids, you think of picking up a ball during a game and passing it to a player. However, you have to take on these chores to keep the game running smoothly. In the era of science and technology that accurately captures the movement of a ball moment by moment, it is ironic that people are still doing ‘cleaning the floor’.
This is the scenery of the Australian Open, one of the four major tennis tournaments. Being located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is now summer, so showers come and go. In the unpredictable weather, the players are embarrassed, but the ball kids are also puzzled. Interruptions come from time to time.
Sometimes we stay up all night as the game keeps pushing back. Andy Murray’s second round of singles continued until 4:00 am, and even at this time, Ball Kids could only go home after the game was over and it was dawn.
The total prize money of the tournament reaches 66.3 billion won, the highest ever, but you can’t get any price as much as the ball kids. The US Open and Wimbledon reward ball kids financially, but the Australian Open is different. Because the Ball Kids remain pure volunteers. You will only receive a gift bag with food and souvenirs to pack your meal. Still, about 2,500 ball kids are selected every year, and the competition rate is as high as 5 to 1.
Ball kids enjoy the opportunity to see the best players from the closest quarters of the court. It’s a special experience. Even retired Roger Federer dreamed of being a ball boy. It also leaves something to see. The respect and consideration created by players and ball kids is heartwarming. However, at the Australian Open, the ball kids remained controversial. More and more people are asking how far the boundaries of unpaid devotion are.