29 June 2018

When Maya met Roger

Maya Williams

Being a ball girl at Wimbledon is harder than you might think. Maya Williams, who plays in the Wimbledon Park Doubles, with her father, Delano, and the Wimbledon Women's League, explains what it takes

I’ve played tennis since I was 3 years old. My uncle was and still is a coach, and currently coaches at Queens. He also participated in the Davis Cup representing Trinidad.  I love the fact that tennis requires many different skills such as speed, agility and coordination. I also like the challenge of playing against different styles and meeting new people. It’s a very sociable game and can be played by anyone. 

Maya in action at WimbledonIn 2015 I was a ball girl at Wimbledon. It was honestly the most amazing experience! Two weeks of pure tennis and being surrounded by others who understood and were enthusiastic about the sport was amazing. Being so close the players and just being allowed to step foot on one of Wimbledon’s pristine grass courts was truly astonishing. 

The selection process started at school with intense fitness tests and training sessions. You then go to All England Lawn Tennis Club to train with specific ball girl/boy trainers. It was very intense and hard work but it was nice to be pushed to my limit and I felt the fittest that I ever have. The training lasted almost a year.  Many people get rejected as they really do look for perfection. Each week after training a number of people get ‘cut’ and only a certain amount get to the championships. 

Many people misinterpret the sheer physical demands and high levels of concentration needed to maintain a high and almost world class service to the best tennis players in the world. 

You have to keep your eye on the game, especially the scores, as you have to work out when the next ball change is. Not only do you watch the game, but you have to keep a close eye on the players as they may signal for the ball or their towels. 

Every single moment on court was amazing but in particular the wheelchair tennis was admirable and being a ball girl for Heather Watson (she was really nice).

You’re not allowed to talk to the players but 2015 was my lucky year. Roger Federer himself came in to the ball girl/boy complex to meet us and we got to take pictures with him. It was an unforgettable experience.  

Personally, I like to stay at the baseline when I play but I love to come into the net when the opportunity is right! It’s amazing playing with my dad! His determination and sheer talent is truly an inspiration and I try my hardest to keep up with him!! It’s helpful because we understand each other’s game and so we work well together. Watching the professionals gave me determination to work hard to get better at tennis. I also learnt from the training that I need to be precise especially when it comes to technique.” 

You can find out more about the Wimbeldon ball boys and girls at Wimbledon.com