A grand slam experience for Cripps

JACK Cripps has been rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best tennis players.

The Bendigo boy received a late call up to be a ball kid at the Australian Open in Melbourne Park.

Cripps was initially wait-listed as an emergency ball kid for the grand slam but was called by tennis organisers last week to take part in the tournament.

The 12-year-old said he was ecstatic to get his chance to be a part of one the biggest championships of the year.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I was so excited.”

Cripps said the first match he covered was the round two women’s single game between eighth seed Jelena Jankovic from Serbia and Ayumi Morita from Japan.

He said the match, on court eight, was televised.

Cripps said the ball kids were on court for 45 minutes at a time.

He said the blistering conditions were difficult to deal with.

Melbourne suffered through consecutive days of over 40 degree heat last week, with tennis organisers enforcing their extreme heat policy.

The Girton Grammar student said the heat wasn’t the only thing he was worried about.

“It was very hot, but being a ball kid is very nerve-wracking” he said.

Cripps said the one player he would like to be a ball kid for is Roger Federer.

“It would be amazing if I could be his ball kid,” he said.

“He is my idol.

“He is my favourite player.”

Federer has had a glittering tennis career, winning 17 grand slams to date.

Cripps said he underwent a stringent trial to be selected to be a ball kid.

“It was intense,” he said.

“It went for about six months.

“I was in the level one trial stage before making it to the second level and then I made it on the emergency list.”

The aspiring tennis player, who plays in the Bendigo Tennis Association, said he would try out to be a ball kid at the 2015 Australian Open.

This years tournament ends with the men's final on Sunday.

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