RHYAN Hudson may not have had the privilege of appearing on Rod Laver Arena at this year’s Australian Open.
But he still enjoyed his ball kid experience at his first grand slam event at Melbourne Park.
He was part of the Australian Open ball kid visitors program where he stayed with 30 ball kids from other states and countries including China, Korea and France.
Kendall Tennis Club president Wendy Hudson said Rhyan “loved the experience”.
“He didn’t get to do the big games, but there were 380 kids in the ball squad and the Victorian kids are the ones that get centre court,” she said.
The Kendall teenager sacrificed an appearance at the Sydney International where he would have serviced centre court for the Melbourne Park experience.
It’s one he’s happy he did and one of the lasting memories of his appearance in the southern capital in January were separate matches involving Australian Jordan Thompson andUzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
He also serviced a match involving Brit Kyle Edmund who made the semi-final.
“He was on the outside courts and did a match that involved Jordan Thompson so any time you get an Australian player it’s a great experience,” Hudson said.
“Edmund made the semi-finals and he did one of his early round matches which was pretty good.”
More than 70,000 fans flocked to Melbourne Park on day one which meant a challenge was waiting to get in to most courts.
“On some of the showcourts even if you had a day pass you had to sometimes line up for an hour or so just to get into the court,” Hudson said.
The Kendall teenager has been part of the NSW ball squad for five years and has been playing tennis since he was three.
The hot Melbourne weather provided a challenge and the 15-year-old said before he left that he was looking forward to the entire two-week experience.
“Our training is pretty hard. We have to be fit, we have to eat well and make sure we stay focused,” he said at the time.
“We do a lot of rolling of the balls and speed work. There’s definitely a lot of pressure and probably what I get most nervous about.”