PRENTON’S Dan Berkson was given a tennis masterclass from three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker as his bid to become a Barclays Ball Kid entered its final stage, writes Charlie Talbot-Smith.
The 14-year-old Pensby High School for Boys pupil was one of 100 youngsters given expert tuition from Becker at the Barclays Ball Kids National Trials at The Riverside Northwood Health and Racquets Club.
Up for grabs is the prize of starring alongside Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and British No.1 Andy Murray at the O2 Arena as one of 30 ball kids for the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
Prenton Lawn Tennis Club’s Berkson demonstrated his talent in front of Becker and Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey and admitted it would be a dream come true to rub shoulders with the likes of Federer and Nadal.
He said: “It was good and really enjoyable but challenging, although I know they want to have the best ball boys and girls so I was prepared for that.
“It would be such a good experience to be so close to the players and to be able to watch them.
“I think my speed, experience on the court and awareness of the game will hopefully give me an advantage.”
The nationwide Barclays Ball Kids search began in January with Berkson qualifying from the Manchester Regional Trial.
And Becker, who along with Petchey will select the lucky winners, believes the lucky 30 are in for a treat they will never forget if they reach the O2.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity for these kids to get involved with the best tennis players in the world,” Becker said. “It’s quite an achievement to get picked out of thousands of kids throughout the whole country.
“To be selected as the top 30 they really have to be good and I hear from the head coach that this year the standard was better than ever.
“It seems to get better and bigger every year and that is not only great for the kids but also great for the sport.
“Tennis is my first love and if I can stay involved, teach the kids about the sport and they can take something away from that as well then it’s fantastic.”
For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, visit ww.barclaysballkids.com