How would you like the “honor” of retrieving and catching Nadal’s sweaty towels? Tennis writer Stephen Tignor thinks it is time to release ball kids from their servitude.
In his “Parting Shot” in the March/April issue of Tennis Magazine, Tignor says, “It has evolved, or devolved, to the point where players walk on court, plant themselves in a chair and demand all manner of accoutrements – bananas, water battles, ice packs, restrung racquets, new shoes – that the ball persons nearby feel duty-bound to deliver to them.”
He continues, “At this point, it’s an unwritten rule that the ball persons must do whatever the pros tell them. The most obvious – and gross – example is towel-fetching… The kid, or sometimes adult, is obliged to pick up the player’s sweaty towel, convey it to him immediately – and then, after the player has made it even sweatier, have it flung back in his or her face.”
This entitlement was further abused when Fernando Verdasco publicly berated a ball boy when he didn’t deliver his towel fast enough to suit the Spaniard. Or the many top players who regularly growl “Towel!” when they walk back (stall) after losing a point.
Tignor suggests that officials can/should hand out code violations whenever a player disrespects a ball kid; and make it policy that the player goes to get their own towel (which will surely decrease the number of times they actually towel off).
If the players can carry their own bags on and off the court, they can fetch their own towels.
What do you think?
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