Ipswich ball boy Jared Bones rubs shoulders with Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro at O2
- Credit: PA
Ipswich’s Jared Bones was the British star at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in the absence of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray – and he admitted he loved every minute of it.
Having won a nationwide competition the 15-year-old Copleston High School pupil shared the court with the cream of world tennis at the O2 as one of 30 Barclays Ball Kids.
Back surgery put an end to Wimbledon champion Murray’s hopes of appearing but Bones still rubbed shoulders with this year’s French Open and US Open winner Rafael Nadal in London.
And Bones insisted it was an experience he would never forget.
“I really enjoyed it, it was such an amazing experience to be on court with those players,” said Bones – who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the O2.
“It was the best opportunity of my life, I grew up watching it and then I found myself on court being a part of it.
“I was a bit nervous the first time, I had to run on for the game between Djokovic and Federer who are two of the best players in the world, it was a real experience.
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“I did a catch on the first day to lean over the barrier to get it and I got a clap from the crowd. Although one time the ball hit my legs and then hit me in the face, that was a bit embarrassing.
“Juan Martin Del Potro was the best, he was a bit different from the rest, he was very kind and laid back.
“I was ecstatic when I made it through to be a ball kid, I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Six-time Grand Slam winner Boris Becker helped chose Bones, who plays at David Lloyd Leisure, for the O2 role where he caught the eye of 2009 US Open winner Del Potro.
Del Petro met Bones off the court at the O2 to give him hints and tips and the world number five admitted he did a sterling job for all the players involved, not just himself.
“I was ten-years-old (when I was a ball boy) at a Futures tournament in Buenos Aires and I remember all the players who played that tournament,” said Del Potro.
“I know how big it is for the ball kids, meeting all the players, giving the balls to all of us. They are so fast, they are so good, they make our job very easy.
“I think they’re great, they’re smart, they know when we ask for our towels, our drinks and they are so professional too.”
- For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit www.barclaysballkids.com