World number one Novak Djokovik is not the only one who will be looking back on the 2015 Wimbledon tennis championships with happy following memories of his title defence – a group of nine pupils from the Glyn School in Ewell also have good reason to remember the fortnight with pride, after they played their part as ball boys and ball girls.
Glyn pupils have been a regular fixture at the tournament for the last four years, with the school’s representation jumping from two to nine in that time. Ed Fry, head of Year 12 at the school, who looks after the scheme, said the rapid growth of Glyn’s involvement at Wimbledon was an example of “success breeding success”.
“It’s such a prestigious honour, that as you’d expect, competition between the pupils is intense, so only the very best make it,” he explained. “After a rigorous internal selection test we then put forward our quota to the All England Club in January, and then they discover whether or not they have been selected for training.”
Despite getting so up close and personal with some of the most famous names and faces in world sport, the ball boys and girls are there to work, playing an integral role in the smooth running of the tournament watched by millions of viewers across the world. “It’s definitely hard work, even more so in conditions like we had this year, so it was a real source of pride for the school that all the candidates we put forward were selected this year,” Mr Fry expected. “And although they’re there to work, there are also so more relaxed moments – like when some of the group had their photo taken with this year’s eventual runner-up and seven-time winner Roger Federer at an induction day before the tournament began.”
Evidently Glyn’s representatives made a good impression on tournament organisers. Paula Mazur was asked to be a ball girl for the men’s final, and James Kelly was part of the guard of honour for the trophy presentation after the men’s final.
Whilst Djokovic and Federer are likely to return to SW19 to play again next year, for this year’s Glyn ball boys and girls, any future trips to Wimbledon will have to be from the other side of the fence, as ticket holders, but Mr Fry said the chance to be part of it was a truly unforgettable experience.
“It’s unlikely they will ever have an experience similar to this ever again, so we make sure that they realise the importance and prestige of what they’re doing,” he explained. “That ensures that they take pride in them – and also that Glyn can be equally proud of them.”
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