Open gets help from neighbours
By Bridie Smith
January 11, 2004
Yesterday marked day one of an intense training regime for the 300 youngsters who will sweat it out as ball kids for the world's best tennis players at the upcoming Australian Open.
But this year there's a difference. Joining the Australian contingent on court are 20 South Korean and four Singaporean ball kids.
It is the first time such a program has been run in a grand slam and the first time in Australia for many of the children.
"It's beautiful and clean and the sky is so blue," noted Korean Justin Choi, 16.
Chermaine Ma Qian Hui, 16, is in the Singapore Sports Excellence Program.
"I'm hoping to play college tennis in the States and maybe get a sports scholarship," she said.
The Open's Asian marketing manager, Richie Gee, said the international flavour this year is the result of working to actively involve the region in the event.
"One day we hope to see these kids come back and play professionally," he said.