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TENNIS: Emma all set to rub shoulders with Rafa
10:00am Friday 1st November 2013 in Sport
THE final cast list for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals might be assembled late but Wootton Bassett’s Emma Hancock is itching to end a seven-month wait for her starring role at the O2.
The 16-year-old is set to be one of just 30 Barclays Ball Kids rubbing shoulders with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in London at the glamorous eight-day finale to the tennis season.
Hancock, who plays at Wootton Bassett Tennis Club, beat off stiff competition from thousands of youngsters across the UK to earn the right to star at the O2 from November 4 to 11.
Having been handpicked by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker back in April, she spent last week at a training camp at the Hampshire Health and Racquet Club and can’t wait to get going.
“It was tough, but all the training really paid off, you could tell you were getting better at everything, and everything was getting smoother. It was just tough on the muscles,” she said.
“It was mainly learning what you do on court, what you do when the balls are being changed. It’s quite hard to read players, so you’ve got to know when they want the ball or when they want their towel.
“Everyone thinks it’s really easy but there’s a lot of work that goes into it – a lot of training and fitness. The coaches have been good, they are a bit tough but you have to be to get us to do everything right.
“Being at the O2 is going to be so good. I only just realised how close we are going to be to the players, it doesn’t really kick in until you start training for it – it’s going to be amazing.”
Hancock will also share the court with 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro at the O2 as eight singles players as well as eight doubles pairings compete in front of 20,000 spectators each day.
And Hancock is determined to make the most of her moment in the spotlight with the world’s best players at the O2.
“My favourite player is Roger Federer but it’s still a bit uncertain whether he is going to be in or not, hopefully he will,” she added.
“I will definitely be nervous before, especially on my first match, so it’s going to be tough. I just need to try and relax and forget everyone is watching.”
- For more information about the Barclays Ball Kids programme, go to barclaysballkids.com or visit the Barclays Ball Kids Facebook page.
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