Budleigh teenager shares tennis court with the world stars
PUBLISHED: 12:04 13 November 2012
2012 Getty Images
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON’S Nicole Thackray enjoyed a week to remember as she shared the spotlight with US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Having won a nationwide competition the Colyton Grammar School pupil shared the court at the O2 Arena with the cream of world tennis, including Roger Federer, eventual winner and world number one Novak Djokovic and Murray.
And after her week in the limelight 16-year-old Thackray – who saw off 2500 other children to get her 15 minutes of fame – admitted it had been an experience to savour.
“The week was absolutely amazing,” said Thackray – who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the London event.
“It was so much better than I thought it was, even though I was really looking forward to it, and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be.
“The atmosphere on court is amazing and when you run on they call out all of the ball kids and everyone cheers for you, it was amazing.
“The players were all really nice, although one time Djokovic fell over and I forgot to pick up his racquet even though I wanted to.
“It was also great to see tennis played properly that close, it was great.”
And 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who shared the court with the ball kids during the competition at the O2, was quick to praise the former George Washington Primary School pupil.
“The Barclays Ball Kids all did great. They were really good ball kids,” Tsonga said.
“I’m used to having some good ones in Roland Garros and in Paris Bercy so I think they’re really good.
“I think the most important element for me was their attention because they need to be ready at all times to receive a ball, to give a ball, give a towel or something. The most important thing is concentration.
For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit www.barclaysballkids.com