Video of ball kids at the Australian Open drying the court by hand has caused an outrage on social media. The clip shows a row of ball kids on their hands and knees, hand-drying a court after rain, which interrupted the opening set of the Elena Rybakina-Jelena Ostapenko women's quarter-final on Tuesday. The puddles had covered the court and authorities said they need several minutes to close the roof at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, according to Newshub. So, the authorities called up ball kids to mop the floor using towels.
Watch the video:
Rod Laver Arena ball kids currently drying the court with towels on their knees in 2023! @AustralianOpenpic.twitter.com/xnfsb4ENg4— Courtside Hospitality - Luxury 🎾 Experiences ✈️🌎 (@LuxTennisTours) January 24, 2023
The footage stunned social media users, with many of them reacting in disbelief.
"Unpaid ball kids mopping a wet court with towels when there were high chances of rain. Just..." tweeted one user.
"If you're involved in sports technology, or are someone who's innovative, surely there's a better and more efficient way to dry a tennis court. I mean, in 2023- this is ridiculous," presenter and sports broadcaster Shane McInnes said on Twitter.
"This needs to be spoken about and addressed. It's appalling to see this as a live audience - a better solution is needed," tweeted one fan, who was present at the match.
According to news.com.au, around 2,500 kids apply to be ball kids every year, with less than one in five of actually getting successful.
Those who do make the cut then work under strict conditions and unpredictable weather conditions of Melbourne, especially in January.
Ball kids working at the US Open are paid $15 per hour while at Wimbledon they're given a flat rate of $351 per week, the outlet further said.