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Nice catch!
January 28, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

Ball Boy's Quick Catch steals attention from Nadal-Federer Aussie Open semifinal match. ''I didn't have much time to think about it. I just stuck my hand out and the ball just stayed there. I couldn't believe it myself but then I just had to get straight on with the match." Dylan Colaci's catching skills were compared to those of Australia's master of close fielding Ricky Ponting. Rafael Nadal went on to beat Roger Federer in four sets and will meet Novak Djokovic in tonight's men's final.
posted by sweetkid (21 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
First the bug and now this; it's like the Open of the Ball-kids.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:51 AM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


er, tomorrow night's men's final, I meant to say. Damn time zones.
posted by sweetkid at 11:52 AM on January 28, 2012


tonight or tomorrow depending where you are. Dammit!
posted by sweetkid at 11:52 AM on January 28, 2012


I started cracking up, the crowd reaction is what makes that video.
posted by Xoebe at 12:05 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


+1 for the verb "to snaffle".
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:05 PM on January 28, 2012


Meh. Nobody else played wall-ball as a kid?
posted by cmoj at 12:06 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we now have a ball-kid tournament? Bug removal, one-handed ball catching, spare ball tossing, sprinting, court inconspicuousness/camouflage, etc.
posted by pyrex at 12:09 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bug removal, one-handed ball catching, spare ball tossing, sprinting, court inconspicuousness/camouflage, etc.

I approve of this plan, because I expect the resulting regiment of Urban Ninja Irregulars to make an interesting addition to our era's political turmoil.
posted by stebulus at 12:36 PM on January 28, 2012


aaaand the crowd goes wild!

impressive catch
posted by supermedusa at 12:50 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


A kid caught a tennis ball. Is that anything?

'Cause if it is, imagine how amazing it would be if someone were to train a dog to do that!
posted by Sys Rq at 12:54 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Love this catch.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Love this catch.

Fake.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:03 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Damn, fucking ad people. Grr. Thanks, Sys Rq.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 1:10 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


It looks like the kids legs are already moving when the ball touches the racket. he has heard the 'out' and seen the arm movement of Federer and already his instinct is activating his muscles to react and put him ready to stretch out to catch it.
posted by Catfry at 2:13 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


cgi
posted by facetious at 2:51 PM on January 28, 2012


There was some pretty good tennis being played at the open too
posted by jpdoane at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


It looks like the kids legs are already moving when the ball touches the racket.

This is a pretty good sign for his athletic career. Reacting to a ball before it's been touched is one of those instinct things that you can't teach but make a considerable difference.
posted by Blue_Villain at 3:47 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I paused it with the ball in motion toward the ball boy. He has not yet reacted.
posted by BurnChao at 4:41 PM on January 28, 2012


ESPN cameramen will show 100 honey shots of the players' WAGS (wives and girlfriends) but not one close-up of the kid who made the catch. And during that particular game, ESPN ran 2 replays of points but no replays of the catch.

Bad, ESPN.
posted by surplus at 5:33 PM on January 28, 2012


I tried out to be a ballkid at the Australian Open when I was 13 (you have to be between 12 and 16 during the event itself). The first ~1000 valid applications received after it opens (early March?) are accepted into the physical trials - I'm pretty sure you get into these automatically if you worked the year before, not sure if this set comes out of the 1000. I think they were divided into six dates, kids assigned alphabetically by name but you could ask to go to a different date. Trials were scheduled for an entire afternoon, and took place at Melbourne Park in the indoor tennis courts. We were split into either tall (stand at the back of the court) or short (net kids) and then divided into groups of six per court, and did drills throwing, catching, sprinting and rolling the ball down the court. The average kid in these trials was pretty athletic to start with, and I'd bet that 70+% had a cricket background (it being Melbourne, that wasn't so hard anyway). They had evaluators roaming around the courts taking notes on each kid, and from this session perhaps half the kids were called back for trials round 2, until they selected 250 kids for the actual event. (My brother and I were not called back.)

Once selected, they train from May until December at least once a month, and then start working at the qualifying tournament the week before the Open. They work one hour on, one hour off, I think (maybe 45 minutes on, 1.5 off?), and there is an evaluator courtside almost constantly. The kids have ratings, and court assignments are done individually for each day so better kids are assigned to more high profile matches - getting on centre court is an achievement in itself. After 10 days they start cutting kids as the volume of tennis goes down. It's probably gone up with inflation but in 1998 they got paid $160/day, which sounded amazing to me. I think they also now have an 'afternoon' shift, that arrives late afternoon and takes over on matches that are going really late (this is separate to the evening shift for centre court). Back in '98 you had to be a local kid or able to get yourself to and from the Open at least, but they have since started recruiting kids from other states, and even overseas - there is a squad of Asian kids that get in from trials held throughout Asia, as part of growing efforts to make the Australian Open the 'Asian' Open and get increased coverage there, especially with players like Li Na helping make tennis itself more popular. All these foreign kids get put up in a nearby hotel with a few guardians, it must be an amazing experience.

(I was a line umpire at the Open for I think four years, but I still wish I'd made it as a ballkid).
posted by jacalata at 9:59 PM on January 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


- recent article with some more up to date numbers here
- application for 2013 here
posted by jacalata at 3:11 AM on January 29, 2012


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