Video of ball kids at the Australian Open wiping the court with their hands has sparked outrage on social media. The clip shows a row of ball kids on their hands and knees hand-drying a court after rain interrupted the opening set of the Elena Rybakina-Jelena Ostapenko women’s quarter-final on Tuesday. The puddles had covered the pitch and authorities said they needed several minutes to close the roof at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, according to Newshub. So the authorities called in ball kids to wash the floor with towels.
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The footage stunned social media users, with many of them reacting in disbelief.
“Unpaid ball kids washing a wet field with towels when there was a high chance of rain. Just…” one user tweeted.
“If you’re involved in sports technology, or someone who’s innovative, there’s definitely a better, more efficient way to dry a tennis court. I mean, in 2023 – it’s ridiculous,” presenter and sports broadcaster Shane McInnes said on Twitter.
“This needs to be talked about and addressed. It’s appalling to see this as a live audience – a better solution is needed,” tweeted one fan who was in attendance at the game.
According to news.com.auaround 2,500 children apply to become ball kids each year, with less than one in five actually succeeding.
Those who do then work in harsh conditions and unpredictable weather conditions in Melbourne, especially in January.
Ball kids working at the US Open are paid $15 an hour, while at Wimbledon they get a flat rate of $351 a week, the outlet further said.
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