When watching the 2019 Australian Open this summer, you might notice a familiar face in the background.
13-year-old Emily Murphy has been selected as an official Kia Ball Kid for the major tournament, giving her the chance to rub shoulders with the world’s biggest tennis stars.
It is believed that Emily’s appearance at the Australian Open will make history, with the Port Augusta Tennis Association having no record of any locals previously participating in the grand slam as a ball kid.
Having only ever walked passed the Rod Laver Arena during a previous visit to Melbourne, Emily can’t wait to spend time centre court.
”It’s an amazing opportunity. It’s definitely once in a lifetime,” Emily said.
Emily, who began playing tennis when she was five years old, made her ball kid debut at the World Tennis Challenge in Adelaide at the start of the year.
Her first attempt at the role was a resounding success after being named the runner-up top ball kid at the tournament.
Her performance earned her a call-up to the Australian Open as one of just two South Australian ball kids.
With kids from around the globe selected to gather in Melbourne, Emily has her sights set on being involved in the tournament’s biggest matches.
“I definitely want to ball kid for Roger Federer,” she said.
In Melbourne from January 4-28, Emily is set to spend the first few days training, before moving on to the qualifying games, then the main draw.
Emily said the role of a ball kid includes more than just what you see on television.
“If it’s raining you’ve got to sweep the courts,” she explained. “You’ve got to set up the umbrellas for the players and get them any stuff they might want.”
In addition to tennis, Emily also plays netball and participates in Little Athletics.
She thanked her twilight tennis team, Thorny Devils, for their gifts and well wishes in the lead-up to the Australian Open.