Olivia to be ball kid at world finals

Olivia Crowhurst with Mark Petchey
Olivia Crowhurst with Mark Petchey

Olivia Crowhurst admits she is over the moon at the prospect of sharing a court with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray after being handpicked by Boris Becker at the Barclays Ball Kids National Trial.

St Leonards-based Olivia fought off competition from 99 other young hopefuls at The Riverside Northwood Health and Racquets Club, winning a place as one of 30 ball kids to star at November’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2.

Olivia, who will celebrate her 16th birthday tomorrow (Sunday), was tested on agility, endurance, ball skills, balance, speed and team work, and clearly did enough to impress Becker and Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey.

The St Richard’s Catholic College pupil pupil admitted she is now counting down the days until she gets to rub shoulders with the likes of Djokovic, Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“The whole process has been really exciting and challenging to a certain extent,” she said. “It is absolutely amazing to be selected and it is definitely going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity being on court with players I’ve admired for so many years.

“It’s something I may never be able to do again so it’s an amazing opportunity, especially since the competition was really tough. It was quite gutting being so close last year but that has made getting through this year even better.”

The nationwide Barclays Ball Kids search began in January with Olivia – whose favourite player is Federer – qualifying from the Sutton Regional Trial. Olivia plays at Amherst Tennis Club, but is coached by Clay Isles at the David Lloyd Club in Eastbourne.

For more information about the Barclays Ball Kids programme, go to barclaysballkids.com or visit the Barclays Ball Kids Facebook page.