The Princess of Wales has never hidden her passion for sports, especially tennis, so it’s not surprising that she is highlighting the unsung players who contribute to the sport.
As the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club patron, Catherine has teamed up with legendary tennis player and eight-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer to create a short YouTube film to honor Wimbledon’s Ball Boys and Girls (BBGs) and the preparation required to become a BBG at The Championships.
Her Royal Highness is seen visiting the All England Club with the tennis champion to meet returning and potential BBGs and learn about their experiences in training for the role in the movie, which was filmed at Wimbledon in June.
In the movie, Catherine plays with Roger in a doubles rally on the No. 3 Court before joining the BBGs on the court for a practice session. Together, Catherine, Roger, and the BBGs talk about what it’s like to be a BBG, what it was like to go through the training program, and how the skills acquired will continue to be useful in the future.
In reference to the abilities you develop during BBG training, Catherine said during the movie: “Wimbledon is renowned for its amazingly professional Ball Boys and Ball Girls, the amount of work it takes, it’s incredible to see it behind the scenes.”
“You’ll be able to take all the discipline and everything you’ve learned into so many other areas of your life, things like confidence and that feeling of pride with being on any of the courts is such a big moment,” the coach continued.
The Princess and Roger visit the Indoor Tennis Centre of the All England Club after the rally to watch a training session for aspiring BBGs.
Roger said, “This is proper practice; I’m really impressed at how much effort and training goes into being a ball kid during The Championships,” while filming, expressing his own admiration for the Ball Boys and Girls. When I was 9 or 10 years old, I used to play ball in Basel, and as I’ve always said: “Once a ball kid, always a ball kid.”
The Princess and Roger also get to know BBG Manager Sarah Goldson and watch the training session to learn about the various skills being honed and hear from potential BBGs about their impressions of the program.
Before the final group photo, Catherine and Roger participate in the session by following the BBGs.
The Community Tennis Center of the All England Club in Raynes Park hosts training sessions for about 1000 applicants from nearby schools who are between the ages of 13 and 15.
Following several months of structured training sessions, about 250 BBGs eventually take to the Wimbledon courts after learning a variety of skills such as signaling for ball changes, rolling balls up to the net, and the proper techniques for bouncing the balls to players.
Around 170 new participants make up the final cohort of BBGs that are chosen, and about 80 BBGs from previous years are also included.
BBG Manager Sarah Goldson had this to say about the movie: “Welcoming Her Royal Highness and Roger Federer to Wimbledon to see and experience what it takes to be a BBG at Wimbledon was a pleasure.
“We’re extremely proud of the young people who devote so much time and effort to their role, which is crucial to delivering a successful Championships,” the statement continues.
The film will be shown to spectators in line, on the iconic Hill, and throughout the grounds of The Championships 2023, which run from July 3 through July 16.