Serena Williams might be the champion of tennis, but there are other unsung heroes who are pushed to the brink of their athletic abilities each year at the U.S. Open, without whom the game could simply not go on.
They are, of course, the ballpeople, tasked with the ever important duties of grabbing tennis balls between rallies at what seem like record speeds. They have to constantly remain in precise position, all while trying to avoid being slammed by serves that can go over 150 miles per hour.
Back in June, I ― a person with slight athletic ability and even less tennis knowledge ― had the opportunity to try it out for myself. Before the real tryouts (which are open to the public) kicked off at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, I threw on one adorable (if not slightly too small) ballperson uniform and attempted my hand at what I thought would be a fun, easygoing experience.
Boy, was I wrong.
Cathie Delaney, assistant director of ballpersons for the U.S. Open, showed my lack of skill no mercy. Between running for the ball, throwing the ball and quite frankly being near the ball, I was winded after the brief tryout, much to my delight and not much to Delaney’s.
In honor of the U.S. Open’s opening night August 29, check out our live stream of the tryout to see if I made it to the big time.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t.