The 380-strong ballkid contingent for January’s Australian Open has been confirmed, and four-time champion Roger Federer is encouraging them to break the rules.
In 2016 there will be 138 first-timers working the courts at Melbourne Park, with 25 sets of siblings and two sets of twins among the group.
As part of a partnership arrangement, 20 ballkids will be making the trip from Korea for the southern hemisphere’s only grand slam, with another six of the best from the China Open, two selected as most outstanding from the WTA Championships in Singapore and another two of the best from Roland Garros.
Under no circumstances are ballkids to ask the world’s best players for autographs or photos, but Federer is calling on the kids to make the most of the experience and bend the rules.
“I was a ballkid for two years,” he said in a video message to those selected.
“I used to love it — chasing the players down for autographs and for pictures.
“I’m not sure if you’re allowed to do it, but if you’re not, ask me. I’m totally cool about it.”
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