Wimbledon’s Ball Boys and Girls

June 24th 2014
By: Melanie Hollidge

Every year in preparation for the excitement of Wimbledon an elite group of young people go through the final stages of training. The Wimbledon Ball Boys and Girls have been working hard since February to make sure all the Wimbledon matches flow effortlessly.
They say nothing, they try to be effective and invisible, but we in London and its environs notice them for long enough to know they really are very good.  They are some of the world’s greatest support staff and they have set the standard for tournaments everywhere. Other Grand Slam events have been trying to catch up with Wimbledon for decades. 
If you’ve ever been interested in how to join the 250-strong army of BBGs you would have to come through one of the 700 applications from local schools.  First you have to impress your headmaster. Of the new applicants, 160 of 540 will make it through the selection process.  Some have done it before and come back for more. Of those “veterans,” 90 out of 160 applicants will be successful. The average age of these youngsters is just fifteen.
The best of the best BBGs from four teams of six, work Centre Court and Court One.  One hour on, one hour off. Near-perfection is expected. Six teams of six work the other show courts, the rest patrol the outside courts.