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The invisible heroes: Wimbledon ballboys

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by Gatto Luigi

In any tournament in the professional Tour, ballboys and ballgirls have a key role. Imagine at Wimbledon, where there are some of the best in the world. However by next year the "practice sessions" involving 258 kids could increase, with the goal of having a better knowledge of the habits of best players in the world.

That's what the physical education and Ballboys chief Sarah Goldson revealed. 'We could set a training plan where we could include the most casual aspects, because this year we saw new and different things,' Goldson said.

'They are the invisible heroes of Wimbledon. If they go unnoticed, it's a big success for us.' The preparation is already good in itself: At the All England Club ballboys' office you can find a list where there are the most particular habits of players.

For example, many players ask for the same ball after winning an important point or hit an ace. Someone asks for towel almost on every point, or others like Williams sisters who want to take only one ball at time. The most demanding player? Of course Rafael Nadal, who during changeover doesn't want ballboys to stay him beside very close because otherwise he needs to change his walking direction in order not to keep off the line.

As for women's, Caroline Wozniacki stands out. The Danish player wants always that they give her balls only from one side. 'I never did anything more stressful in my life,' the 15-year-old Nick Yates said.

'School exams are nothing.' Practice sessions that last two-and-a-half hours a week start in February, but already in September 800 guys ask to join the "exclusive" club. Only a few ones have all the requirements: an excellent physical shape, mental speed and being discipline.

'The training is very serious,' insisted Goldson. 'They are under enormous pressure, also because in front of thousands of spectators it's everything different.' Story by ESPN ALSO READ: Venus Williams: 'Not being fan of Roger Federer is uncool' .

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