Not long now for Southwick's big dream to come true
2:00pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in Sport
By Pippa Field
The final cast list for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals might be assembled late but Banstead’s Gemma Southwick is itching to end a seven-month wait for her starring role at the O2.
The 13-year-old is set to be one of just 30 Barclays Ball Kids rubbing shoulders with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in London at the glamorous eight-day finale to the tennis season.
Southwick, who attends The Beacon School, beat off stiff competition from thousands of youngsters across the UK to earn the right to star at the O2 from November 4 to 11.
Having been handpicked by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker back in April, she spent last week at a training camp at the Hampshire Health and Racquet Club and can’t wait to get going.
“The training camp was really good and I had so much fun,” she said. “I did get more and more tired as the week went on though as there was a lot of work to do.
“It is harder than I thought it was going to be but I improved every day and hopefully I will be perfect by the time the tournament starts.
“I was definitely more tired than I thought I would be, especially in my legs, but at the same time it was a lot of fun and a great experience.”
Southwick will also share the court with 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro as eight singles as well as eight doubles pairings compete in front of 20,000 spectators each day.
And Southwick, who plays at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, is determined to make the most of her moment in the spotlight with the world’s best players at the O2.
“I have met loads of new people and we all get on really well,” she added. “It is amazing to think that we have got the tournament right around the corner now.
“I can’t wait to share a court with the world’s best players – especially Del Potro who is my favourite.”
For more information about the Barclays Ball Kids programme, go to barclaysballkids.com or visit the Barclays Ball Kids Facebook page
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