Tennis fans are outraged to find ball kids are NOT getting paid at the Australian Open

Fans are outraged to find Australian Open ball kids are NOT being paid – despite working in scorching heat and being hit by 125mph blasts: ‘Why isn’t that child exploitation?’

  • Social media explodes after discovering ballkids are working for free
  • Tennis fans say being a ball kid at Melbourne Park is child exploitation
  • Others argue that it’s a great experience for die-hard tennis fans
  • Ball kids are strictly disciplined and work in extreme heat during the event

Ball kids at the Australian Open face sweltering heat, player outbursts and the possibility of being hit by tennis balls traveling at more than 200km/h – yet none of them are paid a dime.

Social media erupted this week with the revelation that the youngest staff at Melbourne Park are all volunteers, with some fans believing the practice is child exploitation.

Ball kids at the Australian Open face sweltering heat, player tantrums and the possibility of being hit by tennis balls traveling at more than 200 km/h - and yet none of them are paid a penny

Ball kids at the Australian Open face sweltering heat, player tantrums and the possibility of being hit by tennis balls traveling at more than 200 km/h – and yet none of them are paid a penny

Social media erupted this week with the revelation that prom kids at Melbourne Park are all volunteers, with some fans believing the practice is child exploitation

Social media erupted this week with the revelation that prom kids at Melbourne Park are all volunteers, with some fans believing the practice is child exploitation

The event’s silent stars, who are undergoing a year-long selection process and intense training, have one of Australia’s toughest gigs in January – and some people think they should be getting paid.

“Why isn’t this child exploitation?” commented one Reddit user.

“Disgusting, I wonder how they get away with it. How is it legal?’ said another.

Ball kids at Wimbledon and the US Open are paid for their essential work, and the Australian Open did until 2008 when the kids were classified as volunteers.

Most of the young people who do the demanding job are die-hard tennis fans and enjoy working close to their sporting heroes.

Most of the youngsters who do the demanding job are die-hard tennis fans and are happy to work near their sporting heroes (Andy Murray snapped a selfie with Ballkids in 2016).

Most of the youngsters who do the demanding job are die-hard tennis fans and are happy to work near their sporting heroes (Andy Murray snapped a selfie with Ballkids in 2016).

Ball kids at Melbourne Park receive a meal allowance, prize packages and can keep their tournament uniforms.

A lot of people think it’s a great opportunity for kids and don’t mind that they work for free.

“It would be exploitation of children if they got paid — they’re too young to be employed,” said one Reddit user.

“It’s kids who are passionate about tennis and have the opportunity to buy with money to see how the best players in the world play it. It’s a great initiative and it’s a shame more tournaments aren’t doing the same.

“My son would pay to be a ball boy at AO,” said another.

Nadal (pictured) apologized to the child for hitting her with a tennis ball and described the moment as

Nadal (pictured) apologized to the child for hitting her with a tennis ball and described the moment as “one of the scariest moments” he’s had on a tennis court

“I was a ball kid in the early 2000s and it’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. I didn’t make a dime but got loads of free s*** and food and made some great friends,” said a third.

The job comes with some dangers, which a child found out in 2020 when Rafael Nadal accidentally shot her in the head with a reverse shot.

Nadal apologized to the boy with a kiss on the cheek, describing the moment as “one of the scariest moments” he’s had on a tennis court.

At this year’s event, Nadal became clearly agitated during his first round match when he discovered a ball kid had stolen one of his racquets. Nadal is known for his particular mannerisms during tennis matches, including ordering or his water bottles – and tennis racquets.

Nick Kyrgios was forced to apologize last year after a racquet he threw in a fit of rage after losing nearly hit a nearby ball boy.

The Australian apologized on social media, shared screenshots of a text exchange with the boy and promised to give him a bat.

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https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-11642441/Tennis-fans-outraged-discover-Australian-Open-ball-kids-DONT-paid.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Tennis fans are outraged to find ball kids are NOT getting paid at the Australian Open

Maureen Mackey

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