BAMFORD’S Jonathan Holtum was put through his paces by former British No.1 tennis player Greg Rusedski as his bid to become a Barclays Ball Kid entered its final stage.
The 15-year-old was one of 100 youngsters to be given expert tuition from Rusedski at the Barclays Ball Kids National Trial at Westway Sports Centre in London.
Up for grabs is the prize of starring alongside Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the O2 as one of 30 ball kids for the ATP World Tour Finals in November.
Holtum demonstrated his talent in front of Rusedski as well as Mark Petchey, the former coach of current British No.1 Andy Murray, who will also be in action at the ATP World Tour finals.
And Graves Tennis Leisure Centre’s Holtum admitted it would be a dream come true to rub shoulders with the likes of Murray and his international rivals later this year.
Jonathan, who has beaten off competition from thousands of 12-16 year olds to make it this far, said: “I got to the National Trials last year but didn’t make it through.
He said: “And I really want to make it through because my sister Louise was a Barclays Ball Kid in 2010 and she told me all about it and it sounds amazing.
“To be on the same court as the best players in the world would be brilliant and fingers crossed I can do what my sister did.”
The nationwide Barclays Ball Kids search began in January with Holtum – a former pupil at Bamford Primary School - qualifying from the east midlands regional trial at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.
And Rusedski, who along with Petchey will select the lucky winners, believes Holtum will be in for a treat he will never forget should he reach the O2.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for these kids because if you love your tennis then you get to see the eight best players in the world and be on the same court as them,” said Rusedski, who reached No.4 in the world during his playing days.
“Right now we are going through a really magical era of tennis stars and to think that Jonathan could be alongside them is brilliant.
“We are narrowing it down to just 30 which is very difficult but it does ensure we have the best of the best come November at the O2.”
For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, you can visit ww.barclaysballkids.com.