Laurie Clark enjoyed a week to remember as she shared the spotlight with US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Having won a nationwide competition, the St Michael’s High School pupil shared the court at the O2 Arena with the cream of world tennis, including Roger Federer, Murray and eventual champions and world No.1 Novak Djokovic.
And after her week in the limelight, 15-year-old Clark – who saw off 2,500 other children to get her 15 minutes of fame – admitted it had been an experience to savour.
“I had been a ball kid before in the Davis Cup for Great Britain but this was on such a larger scale and my best experience in tennis for sure,” said Clark – who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the London event.
“I think being on with Murray and Djokovic was the best thing. I got to give them their towels and just being on court with two of the best players in the world was fantastic.
“I have been to watch at Wimbledon a couple of times but it was nothing like being at the O2 and being on court. We were given front-row seats when we weren’t on court so I took advantage of that.
“It is quite good to see how they play and so I can take bits into my own game. I used to play tennis more but because of exams I have had to cut down.
“I need to improve my serve so I was watching to see how people like Murray serve and it was quite helpful.
“The atmosphere was quite overwhelming at first but I settled down quickly. All the crowd were shouting and cheering so it was amazing to be a part of.
“I think all the players were really polite and said thank you when you handed them their towel which was really encouraging for us.”
And 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who shared the court with the ball kids during the competition at the O2, was quick to praise the Lancashire Health and Racquets Club youngster.
“The Barclays Ball Kids all did great. They were really good ball kids,” said Tsonga.
“I’m used to having some good ones in Roland Garros and in Paris Bercy so I think they’re really good.
“I think the most important element for me was their attention because they need to be ready at all times to receive a ball, to give a ball, give a towel or something. The most important thing is concentration.”
For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit www.barclaysballkids.com