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Emma will have a ball at tennis tournament
4:55pm Wednesday 13th March 2013 in News
A LUCKY youngster is on the verge of fulfilling her lifelong ambition to be a ball girl at a major tennis tournament.
Emma Hancock is through to the final stages of a selection process that could see her on the same court as Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour finals at The O2 in London.
The 15-year-old from Rodbourne has come close to making it in previous years but just missed out. This year she is hoping her knowledge will help her go all the way.
“I’ve tried out four times before and keep getting through to the final 100,” said the St Joseph’s College pupil.
“Last year I was a reserve so hopefully this year my experience will give me a better chance of making it.”
“I would be so happy to make it through to the final squad this year as it’s taken me so long.”
The World Tour Final is in November and is one of the main events of world tennis, as the top eight players in the world compete against one another.
More than 3,000 children began the process to be ball boys or girls and, after attending trials in Bristol, Emma has made it through to the final stage of selection in April. Only 30 will make it to London.
At her trial, Emma was put through her paces in a variety of exercises designed to test youngsters’ ability.
The judges were looking for candidates with impressive athleticism, endurance, co-ordination, balance and speed.
“There were a lot of speed and agility tests, which meant you really had to test your core muscles and balance, as well as ball skills,” said Emma.
On top of the physical tests, they had to demonstrate they had the mental strength to cope with the high-pressure environment of professional tennis.
“I think the coaches are looking for people who are persistent and focused on court. You also have to make sure you don’t get bored easily.
“The people running it are really nice and it’s great fun being with everyone and taking part in all the skills,” she said.
There are still places available for children aged between 12 and 16 who want to try out.
To apply, visit the website www.barclaysballkids.com