Ready for the ball at Aussie Open
JACOB Dorey, 15, has met some of the biggest names in tennis while acting as a ball boy at the Brisbane International.
Next year the Hervey Bay tennis junior will have the opportunity to meet a few more of his heroes after he was selected to be a ball boy for the 2011 Australian Open.
Jacob was assessed on several different occasions while carrying out his duties and, on percentages, finished as the best ball boy of the International, earning his place at the Australian Open next year.
Jacob will travel to the Open with this year’s top-ranked ball girl from the International.
Jacob, whose dad David co-ordinates the teams of ball boys at the International, was especially excited to meet his favourite player, American Andy Roddick, this year.
Jacob and his family went to the Open in 2007 and Jacob was lucky enough to see Roddick play then but he said the experience of seeing him up close was completely different.
Jacob said Roddick was his favourite player because not only was he talented, he also seemed like a nice person.
“He seems like he has a good sense of humour,” he said.
Jacob, whose sister Hannah was a ball girl at the International, has modelled his own game on Roddick’s and says he wishes he had a serve like Roddick’s.
The ball kids aren’t allowed to interact with the players on court and Jacob was busy for much of the International but he did manage to track Roddick down off-court to get his signature.
He was also a ball boy for Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils, Tomas Berdych and several other top-ranked tennis players.
Dorey said that, besides Roddick, Indian doubles player Leander Paes had been a great person for whom to be a ball boy.
“He was really nice – really friendly and chatty.
“He even asked me how I was. I was like, ‘are you supposed to be talking to me?’” Jacob said.
One player that was a bit temperamental was Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, often complaining to the umpires and abusing her racquet.
Jacob said a key part of the job was learning the different habits of different players.
Gasquet was one player who liked to have the same ball returned to him after serving an ace or winning a big point.
Jacob started his career as a ball kid four years ago at the Gold Coast and has enjoyed being a part of the Brisbane International since its inception – and he is sure it will continue to get bigger and better each year.
“I think they are hoping to get (Roger) Federer there next year.”