Sale Tennis Club hosts Australian Open ballkid trial

From left, ballkid hopefuls Emma Best and Kieran Webb, with assessors Anthony Zafiris and Hunter Pearce.Photo: Contributed

SALE Tennis Club hosted its fifth annual ballkid trials on Sunday, as part of the selection process for the 2022 Australian Open ballkids.
The trials are normally conducted in March each year, but the scheduling was affected by the open being held later than normal this year and COVID restrictions, with several new dates set.
Metropolitan trials are still yet to be held.
COVID restrictions meant metropolitan children could not travel to regional areas, so the two aspiring ballkids who were able to attend got very special attention.
The ballkid hopefuls were put through their paces by Sale Tennis Club coach Anthony Zafiris and four-time open ballkid and club player Hunter Pearce.
This combination of coaching and experience made for a successful trial.
The level one trial for the Australian Open Ballkids Program is designed to identify children with skills in the areas of rolling, servicing and court movement, all of which are critical to the overall function of the ballkid on court, so these skills were the focus of the trials.
Ballkids play an integral role in ensuring that tennis tournaments run smoothly.
Throughout the Australian Open series, each ballkid is a focal part of every game, be it at Rod Laver Arena or an outside court.
The Australian Open Ballkids Program has one of the most intensive training programs of the four Grand Slams and focuses on the development of core skills and overall tennis knowledge, while also encouraging team work, communication and leadership amongst participants.
Applicants who rank within the top 400 performers Australia wide at the level one trials will be invited to attend level two trials where they will again be assessed for the opportunity to join the program, and 310 ballkids will be chosen.
Sale Tennis Club is hopeful of hosting more ballkids in its next annual trials, assuming Victoria is without the disruption of COVID restrictions in 2022.