Got what it takes to be a Barclays Ball Kid?


Originally published on: 25/02/11 00:00

The deadline for applications for a place in the 2011 Barclays Ball Kids squad is Monday February 28, so there’s just a few days left to apply to be in with a chance of taking to court with the world’s best at London’s O2 Arena this November.

The Barclays Ball Kids programme is looking for 30 talented young people aged between 12 and 16 years who are from the UK, passionate about tennis, quick on their feet and a team player.

1,601 kids aged between 12 and 16 turned out at the ten regional trials in 2010, and with five extra trial venues being introduced in 2011 there’s never been a better chance to show the Barclays Ball Kids Talent ID team just what you’re made of.

If you think you have what it takes, sign up today at

While training at the Barclays Base Camp shortly before this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, guest reporter (and 2010 Barclays Ball Kid) Evelina Belevich (left) quizzed head coach Mark Magrath on his highlights and even higher standards after working with this year’s squad as they visited The O2

Evelina Belevich: So Mark, how does it feel to be a Barclays Ball Kids coach?
Mark Magrath: It feels great! We’ve had a lot of fun over the past five months, and now we’re down to the final 30 we’re getting very excited for the event in a few weeks’ time.

EB: What were the qualities that you were looking for?
MM: We started off in the trials looking for agility, speed, co-ordination and focus, a little bit of confidence and personality to come out to make themselves memorable to us – in a good way!

EB: How do you think the final Barclays Ball Kids squad are doing so far?
MM: So far I think they’ve been brilliant. Yesterday, Wednesday at Base Camp, I think they really turned a corner. By the end of the day everybody was looking really slick, everybody was catching on. Suddenly everybody was worrying about the little tiny minor mistakes – a few days earlier those mistakes wouldn’t have even registered as a major mistake, so great progress. I’m quite confident now.

EB: What has been your biggest highlight so far?
MM: Good question! It’s all been a highlight to be honest, but seeing everyone at the national finals was an awesome experience. There was 120 there all at once, which was really daunting – in all the trials up until then, there’d been a maximum 60 kids at once, so that was quite intimidating, especially with one day to do the trial. Then there was Pat Cash and Mansour Bahrami playing with some of the kids – that was awesome. At the moment, that’s the highlight for me.

EB: Final question: did you ever get frustrated when the Barclays Ball Kids weren’t doing something right?
MM: I don’t know if it’s frustration…there’s always going to be mistakes. The idea is that we do so much training, and the reason the kids selected are doing it is because everything they do is always of the highest quality, so actually a mistake doesn’t look like a mistake, and they can get away with it! Obviously you feel some frustration, but we do our best to help you guys out as much as possible, and so far so good.


Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.