Tennis Prose



Ballpersons Share Memories Of The Players

The best seat in the house for pro tennis is on the court where the ballpersons are the closest to players. Here a few ballkids share some of the memories of being on the court with the pros…

* “My most memorable story was getting admonished by Agassi on court in Cincinnati because I gave him a bottle of water he asked for but I forgot to peel off the label – he wasn’t sponsored by that brand.”

* “Pat Cash gave the ballboy next to me one of his checkered bandanas.”

* Ilie Nastase was the best. Always talking and cool with us. He would give away his racquets as well. I still have the adidas Nastase Competition wood frame he gave at one of the U.S. Opens in the 1970’s.”

* “I was a ballkid for Marcelo Rios at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis. I could understand a lot of Spanish and the things he said were not appropriate to say to a minor. Every year I would get as many players as possible to autograph my event T-shirt. I don’t have a Rios autograph because I didn’t want it.”

* “Federer was playing a match against Marcos Baghdatis and he turned around and said, ‘I’m so fucking off!!’ So I turn around to the line judge and I say, ‘I wish I was that f***ing off.’ And I kinda guess I said it louder than I guess I should have. And then he ended up hearing me and turned around and said, Thank you. Anyway, the guy in the middle of a match, he didn’t need to turn around and say anything. Just the fact he acknowledged what I said and was still nice about it.”

* “I remember at the 1975 or 1976 U.S. Open we were asked to run to the nearest Waldbaum’s on Queens Boulevard to get Drakes Cakes for Martina Navratilova. She literally had a fit and the supervisor would send us to find and bring back boxes of Yodels, Funny Bones and Devil Dogs.”

* “I had a chat with Federer in Dubai. Federer was the most intimidating player to ballboy for. Not in his behavior but more the fact I was so worried about doing something wrong. Speaking to him off the court, he was so cool. But he was just such a different person as soon as he was on court. So focused, so zoned in. But still this incredible aura of calm.”

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1 comment

  • Harold · May 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    What a shock!! Rios was a d*ck



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