17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid.
17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid. Alistair Brightman

Bri's back for the Brisbane International

THE biggest names in world tennis will count on some help from a Maryborough teenager when they start their final preparations for the Australian Open at the Brisbane International..

Bri Sengstock will be one of many unsung heroes when the international tennis tournament returns to the Sunshine State from Saturday, December 31.

She and an army of teenagers will swarm each court, performing an invaluable, underrated and necessary role that many observers overlook.

"They don't see you walking out on the cameras, but everyone in the arena does and there's so many people in there," she said.

 

17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid.
17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid. Alistair Brightman

Ball-kids train for the opportunity for months.

There is an art to the roll from the net to fellow ball-kids well behind the baseline, and while the like of Petra Kvitova and Rafael Nadal sweat it out during Brisbane's sweltering summer with racquet in hand, the ball-kids are out there in the same conditions.

The summer heat - Saturday's opening day of competition is currently forecast to reach a top of 31 - is the least of her concerns. Sengstock is "too hype" after Kvitova, Nadal and Scotsman Andy Murray were confirmed for the draw.

"It makes me more hype, it makes me want to do even better," she said.

"The better I perform the more likely I am to be on the bigger courts with the bigger players, so it's really exciting."

 

17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid.
17 yr old Bri Sengstock heading to the Brisbane International as a ball kid. Alistair Brightman

This will be the last time Sengstock gets to fulfil the role due to her age, but it will be another unforgettable time if this experience is anything like her previous participation.

"On New Year's Day I was on Pat Rafter Arena all day, which was really fantastic," Sengstock said.

"I was not expecting it because I was a first-year ball-kid.

"To be put straight onto Pat Rafter on the first day of everything was just amazing. It builds your confidence so much."



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