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An Innovative Device That Aids Stockholm Ball Kids

Stockholm, Sweden

Ball Kids© If Stockholm OpenA ball kid with Stockholm's Innovative scooper.

At the If Stockholm Open this week, a team of 52 ball kids have been going about their jobs in a seamless and efficient manner.

What is unusual for an ATP World Tour tournament is the fact that the ball kids are using netted ball-scoopers.

“We have a long tradition of the ball kids using the scoopers to pick up balls that probably goes back as far as 20 years,” Nils Norström, who is responsible for training, told ATPWorldTour.com. “But I am not sure why we started using them.

“It’s a child’s racquet with a net, so it isn’t heavy.”

Three months ago, Agnes Sköeld and Norström started trials for children aged between nine and 15.

“We had 100-130 children from all over Sweden, but mostly Stockholm, at the trials,” said Norström. “We got all the children to use them during the trials.”

Jakob Salemyr, in his third year as a ball kid, said, “It does make things easier and quicker between points as you aren’t using your hands. I also think it prevents injuries. It is faster to use the scooper, you can do it while you run and you don’t need to stop.”

But Norström adds, “Some ball kids find it tricky. It all depends on what direction the ball is coming. If it is going away from them, they do find it tricky.

“So we encourage the ball kids to return year after year, so they can become team leaders of eight-strong teams for matches. That way they can impart their knowledge and experience to the younger kids.”

This week David Ferrer, who has already qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, to be held at The O2 in London, from 4-11 November, competes alongside Milos Raonic. Raonic is currently in 11th position in the Emirates ATP Race To London, 375 points behind eighth-placed Roger Federer. There are four singles berths left up for grabs.

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