As the summer winds down, the action is just starting up at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the U.S. Open Championships get underway each year at the end of August. Tennis greats like Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and the Williams sisters swarm Flushing, N.Y. for a chance at another Grand Slam win, but professional athletes aren’t the only ones vying for a spot on the court.
Each year, the U.S. Open holds tryouts for new ballpersons to work the tournament and rub elbows with the world’s greatest tennis players. The only requirement is that they’re 14 years of age or older and have a killer throwing arm. As a lifelong tennis player, I figured I would give it a shot.
The 2017 tryouts took place on one hot summer day, and thanks to Ralph Lauren, I at least looked the part in this year’s official ballgirl uniform. But as it turns out, tennis skills alone can’t get you hired. The best candidates have speed, stamina, and—most importantly—accuracy, something I definitely struggled with while throwing the ball from one end of the court to the other.
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Watch the hilarious video at top to see how well I fared. For now, I think I’ll keep my day job.
Hi, I'm Olivia from In Style and today I'm trying out to be a US Open ball girl. I've been playing tennis my whole life, so I'm pretty confident. Let's try it out. [SOUND] [MUSIC] [MUSIC] How many of you think you can do this? [MUSIC] Come on, more of you. Who wants to go first? [MUSIC] Nope. [MUSIC] That was too hard. It's tough. Okay, so we just saw an example of what the tryout is supposed to look like and now I'm a little nervous. You have to catch the ball in that and throw it to the back of the court, and then you have to go throw from one end of the court to the other. I'm not gonna be able to catch that. So you want to try out for both positions? Okay, so you can throw the length of the court? I hope so. Okay, you're gonna stand with your hands behind your back. And when the ball hits the net, you wanna make sure it hits, and then it comes back on your side. Okay. All right, let's go. [MUSIC] That's it. Don't move, don't move! That's it. Go back over there. I want two hands. I want to make sure they get that on camera. Slow down. Keep going. That's it. All the way to the fence! You're cheating! [MUSIC] Wow Not as easy as it looks. Don't put it in your skirt. Don't put it in your skirt. Don't put them in your skirt. Get them out of your skirt. We're not allowed to do that, bounce around. [MUSIC] How did I do? Well, I wouldn't say it was [UNKNOWN] because you had to be able to get it to that person on a regular basis Just like for two hours. But work on your throwing because from the net, your arm was pretty good. I would just want to work on your speed a little bit more. Are you trying out later in the main tryout? No. [LAUGH] If you'll have me back. Ball girl, out. [SOUND]