India set to have a ball with world stars

India Taylor with tennis great Boris Becker
India Taylor with tennis great Boris Becker
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India Taylor is looking forward to the prospect of sharing a court with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray after being handpicked by Boris Becker at the Barclays Ball Kids National Trial.

The 14-year-old pupil at Wykeham House School in Fareham fought off competition from 99 other young hopefuls in London to win a place as one of 30 ball kids to star at November’s Barclays ATP World Tour finals at the O2.

Taylor was tested on agility, endurance, ball skills, balance, speed and team work in the capital and clearly did enough to impress Becker and Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey.

Taylor is now counting down the days until she gets to rub shoulders with the likes of Djokovic, Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

‘It’s been quite tough but really good at the same time and I’ve enjoyed it all, especially getting selected,’ she said.

‘I think it’s an amazing opportunity and I’d recommend it to anyone.

‘It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on court with those players and it will be an experience I would never forget.

‘I tried last year which made me more confident this time and I am really happy to go one stage better.’

The nationwide Barclays Ball Kids search began in January, with Taylor – whose favourite player is Federer – qualifying from the Southampton regional trial.

Becker added: ‘It’s a great opportunity for these kids to get involved with the best tennis players in the world.

‘It’s quite an achievement to get picked out of thousands of kids throughout the whole country.’

For more information about the Barclays Ball Kids programme, go to barclaysballkids.com or visit the Barclays Ball Kids Facebook page.