Tennis: Reiga revels in the World Tour Finals spotlight

First published in Youth Sport

BOURNEMOUTH’S Reiga Belcher enjoyed a week to remember as he shared the spotlight with US Open champion Andy Murray at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Having won a nationwide competition the St Peter’s School pupil shared the court at the O2 Arena with the cream of world tennis, including Roger Federer, Murray and eventual winner and world number one Novak Djokovic.

And after his week in the limelight 14-year-old Belcher – who saw off 2500 other children to get his 15 minutes of fame – admitted it had been an experience to savour.

“It has been the best sporting experience of my life,” said Belcher - who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the London event.

“I love playing tennis and so watching the top guys in the world was like a dream come true. The atmosphere was great and really got everyone pumped up including the ball kids.

“It got so loud when Murray was playing and the home support was just amazing.

“Roger Federer has been my favourite player for a long time and to ball kid for him was amazing. I was really nervous to start with. I was positioned at outer-centre and when they changed ends and sat down I stood right in front of the players and got their bottles and towels.

“The tennis itself was played at such a fast pace and there are maybe a few things I want to bring to my game. Roger’s serve is incredible and I want to be able to put the same spin on my serve.”

And 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who shared the court with the ball kids during the event at the O2, was quick to praise the Southbourne Tennis Club youngster.

“The Barclays Ball Kids all did great. They were really good ball kids,” said Tsonga.

“I think the most important element for me was their attention because they need to be ready at all times to receive a ball, to give a ball, give a towel or something. The most important thing is concentration.”

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

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