Tennis: Reiga rubbing shoulders with the world's best

BOURNEMOUTH’S Reiga Belcher admits his chance to share a court with US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray at the ATP World Tour Finals cannot come quickly enough.

After winning a nationwide competition from 2,500 children across the country the 14-year-old, along with fellow Bournemouth schoolboy Gianpiero Placidi, will be one of 30 Barclays Ball Kids at the O2 Arena in London from November 5 to 12.

Belcher spent his half-term at The Hampshire Racquets & Health Club being put through his paces ready for the week in the spotlight in the capital.

And while the St Peter’s School pupil is expecting a tough week’s work at the O2, Belcher can’t wait to get acquainted with Murray and the rest of the world’s top players.

“The training was pretty tiring,” said Belcher, whose older brother Shuei was a Barclays Ball Kid at last year’s tournament.

“It was really tough but at the same time everyone is in it together, we are all getting on very well and the hard work is all worth it in the end. I want to look cool out there on the court so practice makes perfect, you don’t want to be the person tripping over and looking stupid.

“I absolutely love watching tennis so to think that I will be on the same court as the best eight players in the world is just amazing, I cannot wait for it to get started.”

More than 20,000 spectators a day will see Belcher in action at the eight-day season finale, which sees the cream of world tennis go head-to-head for total prize money of nearly £3m. And while itching to get started, the Southbourne Tennis Club youngster believes there’ll be more than a few nerves.

“I will be very nervous before the first match but excited at the same time,” he added. “But when I’m right up close on the court I just can’t imagine what that will feel like.”

n For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals visit www.barclaysballkids.com

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