Even if you’re not a tennis fan, you’ve probably seen ball boys — the teenagers on the sidelines who know just when to run onto the court to retrieve a wayward ball without getting in the way. In the 2015 ASB Classic, however, the ball boys weren’t teenagers, they were dogs.
Ted, Oscar, and Super Teddy worked the games like pros, resisting the urge to snatch the balls in midair. Instead, they waited until the proper time to run out and grab the tennis ball with their mouth, then dashed right back to the sideline to wait until their next call to action, as disciplined as Venus Williams with her game face on. When it’s playtime, however, even Williams can’t resist a little nose-rubbing with the one of the canine ball boys.
Being a ball boy is usually serious business, however, and Wimbledon ball boys (and girls) train especially hard for the job. DailyMail.com reports that preparation begins in February and includes intense mental training to simulate the stress and pressure of the live event, a written examination, and military-style warm-up exercises and physical training. Although these ball boys aren’t trained to pick up the balls with their mouths, it is very intense — only about 250 of 700 applicants are accepted each year.
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