Having a ball at the tennis

Maisy Crowther and Bronte McGregor (Joe Mastroianni)

By Jessica Micallef

Maisy Crowther and Bronte McGregor are looking forward to being among tennis superstars at this year’s Australian Open.

The Woodend girls are ballkids at this year’s Australian Open and 14-year-old Maisy said 2020 marked her second year as a ballkid.

“My sister was a ballkid in 2018. I tried out then but I didn’t make it, so I thought I would try again because she said it was a really good experience,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to being close to the players and getting used to catching the train. And you get to meet new friends which is pretty cool.”

Although the girls don’t know which players they will work alongside with, both Bronte, 12, and Maisy have hopes to be get close to Australian player Ash Barty.

“She’s a great role model and great tennis player,” Bronte said.

Maisy said: “She’s gone from down here to up here really quickly.”

Bronte is a first time ballkid this year and is thrilled about being close to the action.

“I just wanted to get close to the players and it’s a great way to make new friends,” she said.

Both girls play tennis at the Woodend Tennis Club and are excited about pursing their journeys together.

“I encourage everyone to become a ballkid because it’s a really good experience,” Maisy said.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said ballkids were the “unsung heroes” of tennis.

“The ballkids play an incredibly important role,” he said. “Our ballkids are put through some of the most rigorous training and selection processes to prepare them for the millions of viewers watching them on the global stage.”

Maisy and Bronte are among 360 ballkids involved in this year’s Australian Open. This includes 38 international ballkids from Korea, China, India and France.