Billy in final selection to be ‘ball kid’ to the stars

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28:  <<enter caption here>> on April 28, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: <<enter caption here>> on April 28, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

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Billy Stenger was put through his paces by former British No.1 tennis player Greg Rusedski as his bid to become a Barclays Ball Kid entered its final stage.

The 13-year-old Avon Valley School pupil was one of 100 youngsters to be given expert tuition from Rusedski at the Barclays Ball Kids National Trial at Westway Sports Centre in London.

Up for grabs is the prize of starring alongside Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the O2 as one of 30 ball kids for the ATP World Tour Finals in November.

Stenger demonstrated his talent in front of Rusedski as well as Mark Petchey, the former coach of current British No.1 Andy Murray, who will also be in action at the ATP World Tour Finals.

And the Rugby Lawn Tennis Club member admitted it would be a dream come true to rub shoulders with the likes of Murray and his international rivals later this year.

“The National Trial was a lot of fun, a bit tiring but hopefully it is all worth it,” said Billy, who has beaten off competition from thousands of 12-16 year-olds to make it this far.

“I play a lot of football too but I really like tennis and would love the chance to be a ballboy at the O2 in November.

“Rafael Nadal is my favourite player and I have always wanted to meet him and this would be a fantastic opportunity to do that.”

The nationwide Barclays Ball Kids search began in January with Billy – a former pupil at The Revel Church of England Primary School - qualifying from the West Midlands regional trial at Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre in Birmingham.

And Rusedski, who along with Petchey will select the lucky winners, believes Billy will be in for a treat he will never forget should he reach the O2.

“This is a wonderful opportunities for these kids because if you love your tennis then you get to see the eight best players in the world and be on the same court as them,” said Rusedski, who reached No.4 in the world during his playing days.

“Right now we are going through a really magical era of tennis stars and to think that Billy could be alongside them is brilliant.

“We are narrowing it down to just 30 which is very difficult but it does ensure we have the best of the best come November at the O2.”

For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, visit ww.barclaysballkids.com