Wodonga and Henty teenagers heading to the Australian Open as ball kids

OPEN SEASON: Ryan Hooper and Zali Lieschke, both 15, have been selected as ball kids for the 2017 Australian Open after months of training. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

OPEN SEASON: Ryan Hooper and Zali Lieschke, both 15, have been selected as ball kids for the 2017 Australian Open after months of training. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Three teenagers from the local region will play a vital part at next year’s Australian Open at Melbourne Park.       

Wodonga’s Ryan Hooper and Matthew Whitehead, along with Henty’s Zali Lieschke, all 15, have been selected as ball kids for the grand slam tennis tournament.

Hooper, who plays tennis at the Wodonga Tennis Centre, will be returning for his second year as a ballkid, while Whitehead, who also plays his tennis in Wodonga, and Lieschke, will be coming to the Australian Open for the first time in the role.

The 380-strong Australian Open ball kid squad was selected from more than 2500 applicants from around Australia and the Asia-Pacific, following months of extensive training.

The top ball kids from each of the five Australian Open Series events – the Brisbane International, Hopman Cup, Sydney International, Hobart International and Adelaide’s World Tennis Challenge, are also invited to join the Australian Open squad.

More than 750 matches will be serviced by the ball kids during the fortnight-long tournament.

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