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Sports June 30, 2016  RSS feed



The U.S. Open ballperson tryouts were held in Flushing on Thursday. 
Photos taken by Amanda Korba The U.S. Open ballperson tryouts were held in Flushing on Thursday. Photos taken by Amanda Korba Working as a ballperson for the 2016 U.S. Open can be a wonderful experience, and we hope that you tried out for the position on June 23 in Flushing!

General public trials were held at the Louis Armstrong Stadium- USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center located at Flushing Meadow Corona Park at 3 p.m on Thursday, June 23.

Participants who are 14 and older were eligible to register at the National Tennis Center and were greeted by Tina Taps, U.S. Open ballperson director. The evaluation process began at 4 p.m., where applicants showcased their running, throwing and catching skills to U.S. Open officials. The officials reviewed their talents and a veteran ballperson provided a demonstration.

Here’s a sneak peek of the U.S. Open ballperson tryouts, practiced by The Queens Courier reporter Brianna Ellis:

Instructed by the assistant director of ballpersons, Cathie Delaney, I broke a sweat by practicing rigorous ballperson activities that an ideal candidate would perform.

One drill was called “trying out at the net,” where a prospective ballperson would run back and forth, picking up tennis balls that bounce off of the net and throwing them back in a smooth and swift manner. This test evaluates a person’s speed, agility and hand coordination.

The second routine, “throwing at the back,” measured the length and height of a ballperson’s throw, the speed of their throw and their receiving skills when a ball is thrown back to them. It’s safe to say that I’ll need some Popeye’s spinach to boost my arm strength, if I ever stand a chance at being a ballperson in the future.

Laray Fowler, a seasoned ballperson who has worked at the U.S. Open since 1998, told The Courier about her extensive experience.

“For me, the experience is great. I’ve made some of my best friends doing this tournament,” she said. “Just to say I work at one of the biggest sports events is something that I’m thankful for and I keep getting my email to come back.”

Eighty ballpeople will be selected out of about 350 expected candidates. The position pays an undisclosed hourly wage, and the ballpeople will be wearing uniforms from the luxury brand Ralph Lauren.

The 2016 U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, through Friday, Aug. 26. The 2016 U.S. Open main draw will be held Monday, Aug. 29, through Sunday, Sept. 11.