Three keen teens had a ball

GOOD EXPERIENCE: Gabby Mitton, Sebastian Seaman and Dominique Mitton all had the time of their tennis lives as ball kids during the Sydney International last week. Photo: PHILL MURRAY 112014ptennisTHREE Bathurst tennis-following teenagers had a tonne of work to do at the Sydney International last week – but they enjoyed every minute of it.

Sebastian Seaman and sisters Gabby and Dominique Mitton were selected back in November to be part of the tournament as ball kids.

They had to go through a rigorous training and selection process to earn the call-up, and theactual job at one of the traditional lead-up tournaments to the Australian Open proved just as demanding.

It might seem like a basic kind of job in comparison to the umpires and linespeople, but there are high expectations on the ball kids and all three of the Bathurst representatives were up to it.

Seaman was in the action for the entirety of the tournament, while the Mitton sisters had to leave early due to other commitments.

They all spent plenty of time on centre court sharing a small space with some of the biggest names in the sport.

“They all had a ball. They got to stand in some really good matches and watch some qualitytennis from a pretty unique vantage point,” said Bathurst Tennis Centre manager Andrew Mitton, who arranged the initial trials.

“It was a fantastic experience for all of them.

“Speaking to my girls, they said that they found the on-court stuff with some of the top players really interesting, just to listen to them muttering to themselves and getting a close-up impression of their on-court demeanour.

“They heard a fair bit of swearing, too.”

While it was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get so close to the best players in the world, it was strictly a volunteer effort for all the kids involved.

That said, it was well worth the time, according to Andrew Mitton.

“They get given a couple of shirts and hats and their meals are supplied, so all that stuff is covered, but they don’t actually get paid to do it,” he said.

“I know that on one night Dom ended up staying on court until 3.30am. She spent about 12 hours on court in total that day and it is pretty demanding.

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