They stand in the searing heat just to catch a glimpse of their favourite tennis stars and also to ensure that the matches run smoothly.
For some it is also patriotic gesture. They are the ball boys and girls for tennis matches at the Commonwealth Games.
More than hundreds of schoolchildren from the NCR have volunteered to become ball boys and girls for the matches at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium. Their job is to fetch the balls that fall out of the court when a match is on.
Aged between 14 years and 15 years, these children reach the stadium at 8am and stay for another 12 hours till the matches are over.
“It also gives us a chance to get clicked with our favourite stars. I just took a picture of myself with Somdev Devvarman. I also feel patriotic about being a ball boy. At least, I am contributing something to the Commonwealth Games instead of staying idle,” said Shaurya Taneja, a Class 7 student of Shri Ram School (Aravalli) in Gurgaon.
Students said they filled up the forms to participate as ball boys and girls at least two months ago.
“I play tennis and was advised by my coach to fill the form two months ago. This would help me gain first-hand experience of the matches and also gain access to the tennis stars. I have met them all — Somdev, (Rohan) Bopanna, Sania (Mirza) and (Asiam ul Haq) Qureshi. It feels great to be at the courts when they are playing,” said an excited Navreeti Srivastava, a student of DLF Public School in Sahib-abad, 30 km from the stadium.
Atif Naseer, another student of St Columba’s in Delhi, said he and his friends had enrolled online for the programme.
“I have a couple of friends who are also here for the matches. I have attended six matches. Heat is not an issue. The organisers take care of us,” said Naseer.