From Ball Boy To First-Round Opponent
San Jose, U.S.A
by Greg Sharko|
American teenager Devin Britton would never have guessed that nine years after meeting Tommy Haas while working as a ball boy, he would play the German star on the ATP World Tour.
That's exactly the situation the 18 year old from Brandon, Mississippi finds himself in as he makes his SAP Open debut on Tuesday night against the fourth-seeded Haas in San Jose. Buy tickets to the tournament!
In February 2001, Britton, who was nine years old, had the opportunity to meet Haas for the first time during the ATP World Tour tournament in Memphis, where he was a ball boy.
“It is going to be pretty awesome to get to go out and actually get to play against someone that I have watched growing up and even ball-boyed for,” said Britton. “Tommy has always been someone I have looked up to because he plays a similar style game to me. He plays very aggressive but smart and likes to get to the net. Also because of how hard he works. I trained at Bollettieri's so I saw plenty of him there as well as getting to practice with him some so that was always good.
“I just remember being really excited to be able to ball boy for him and it is kind of funny now because I am very excited to get out and play against him.”
Britton captured the NCAA singles title last May as a freshman at the University of Mississippi before turning pro afterwards. He also made his Grand Slam debut at the US Open and lost to World No. 1 Roger Federer in the first round, although he was up a break in the second and third sets.
While Britton is familiar with how Haas plays from his practice sessions with the German, he added, “I mean it is always good to know how someone plays before you go out on the court, but either way this is going to be a very tough match and I am just looking forward to the challenge.”