How do you become an Australian Open ball kid? Do they get paid?

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

The Australian Open is one of the largest sporting events in the world, but it wouldn’t run without the help of ball kids.

Ball kids will help the Australian Open run smoothly, whether that be in Rod Laver Arena to help the likes of Serena Williams, Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, or on the outside courts.

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Here is a breakdown of what it takes to become a ball kid at the Aus Open and how they are rewarded:

Ball kids at the 2020 Australian Open

A total of 360 ball kids will take part in the 2020 Australian Open.

Of those 360, picked from 2,500 applications, 38 hail from overseas, made up of 20 from Korea, six from China, 10 from India and two from France (representing Roland Garros).

Novak Djokovic poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the ball kids. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Age requirements

To become an Australian Open ball kid you must be 12-15 years of age.

Process to being picked

Of the applicants, hundreds are selected close to eighth months out from the Australian Open.

Roughly 700 then advance to Level 2 Trials at the National Training Centre.

This figure then gets cut again before ball kids undertake a four month training regime.

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This includes participating in a weekend Open session.

After the long-program, 360 ball kids are selected for the Australia Open.

Rafael Nadal signs tennis balls for the Ball Kids during a Kia Key handover ceremony at Federation Square. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Do ball kids get paid?

Ball kids do not get paid.

But the top performing girl and boy each receive the ‘Top Gun’ award and grants them the opportunity to participate as ball kids in the French Open.

The kids also receive free food allowances, tickets for family and friends, get to keep their uniform and receive a gift.

A ball kid holds a ball on court during day eight of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Comparing the Aus Open to Wimbledon, ball kids at SW19 receive a small stipend.

They also go through a much smaller training regime, from February to June, before the start of the tournament.

Next step for a ball kid

Once a ball kid reaches 16-years-old they can either look to train to become a linesman, umpire or in court services if they want to continue to participate in the Grand Slam.

Aussie icons started off as ball kids

Both former World No.1s Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt started off as ball kids before prospering in long professional tennis careers.

Australian ball kids get officially welcomed during a practice session ahead of the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 9, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)