WARRNAMBOOL cousins Ned and Jackson Timms are excited to have the best seats in the house at the Australian Open.
The Emmanuel College students are among 380 aspiring tennis players invited to work as ball kids at the opening grand slam of 2017.
The pair, both 14, will join fellow south-west tennis fans Danielle Warren and Joseph Mahony on the sidelines.
Ned and Jackson worked at Melbourne Park 12 months ago and were rapt to make the cut a second time.
“I’ve got more experience and training up my sleeve now,” Ned said.
“We had to come down to Melbourne once every two months to train and you go through a process where people are cut as it goes.
“There were 2000 to 3000 people try out and only 380 get in.”
Ned, who worked on Rod Laver Arena as a ball kid on debut, said it was a hectic fortnight with challenges.
“Concentrating that long and being serious for 45 minutes on court (are the hardest parts),” he said.
But he said the opportunity to witness the sport’s best up close – he is hoping to catch Eugenie Bouchard and Thanasi Kokkinakis games this year – made the training worthwhile.
“Just being inside of it all and seeing how it works and the atmosphere of the crowd when you’re on court,” Ned said of his favourite parts of the Australian Open.
Just being inside of it all and seeing how it works and the atmosphere of the crowd when you’re on court...
“When you get on a big court and you know there’s a big crowd, you get a bit nervous.”
Jackson agreed with his cousin, saying he hoped to be picked for showcase games with 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer atop his favourite players.
Meanwhile, a player who won in Warrnambool nine months ago will make his Australian Open main draw debut next week.
Andrew Whittington collected the Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club’s March long weekend men’s singles crown as the number one seed at the seaside tournament.
The Williamstown-based big server has enjoyed a stellar singles season on the courts, earning himself a world ranking within the top 200 after hovering around 400 places higher.