Duo prove they are on the ball

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A PAIR of tennis aces have taken a step closer to fulfilling the dream of a lifetime.

Oliver Jansen, of Morpeth, and Dominic Thompson, who lives in Ellington, have made it through to the final stage of the selection process to become a Barclays Ball Kid.

The winning 30 children will be on the same court as the top eight male tennis players of the year – likely to include Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals held at The O2, London, in November.

The 13-year-olds qualified for the next stage of the competition at one of the regional selection trials held in The Northumberland Club.

They were among seven youngsters selected after showing impressive athleticism, agility, endurance, co-ordination, ball skills, balance, speed and teamwork.

Head Trainer of the Barclays Ball Kids Talent ID team, Mark Magrath, is also heavily involved with the selection and training of the Wimbledon Championships Ball Boys and Girls.

“We were very impressed by the high level of athletes that we saw in Newcastle – not just kids that play tennis but a whole range of sports,” he said.

“The standard has been much better than we anticipated and that made our job really difficult when it came to making that final selection.”

The national selection trial will take place on Saturday, May 21, from which the final squad of Barclays Ball Kids will be selected.

The competition is open to children aged between 12 and 16. Those who want to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity next year should register their interest at www.barclaysballkids.com