Do Ball Boys Get Paid In Tennis?

In every major tennis tournament, there are always a certain amount of ball boys and girls that are running around on the court to catch up the balls.

The position of ball boys includes many perks like watching an exciting tennis match and meeting tennis stars. Which makes the process of becoming a ball boy highly competitive. But do the ball boys actually get paid or is it just something that they are doing voluntarily?

Do tennis ball boys get paid in tennis? Tennis ball boys usually get paid for their job. The salary depends a lot depending on the tournament, but it’s everything from 0 to 15€/hour. In addition, the ball boys get to watch an exciting match of tennis for free and interact with tennis stars.

How Do Ball Boys Get Paid?

It differs a lot from every tournament, but most ball boys are paid hourly wages that usually start in the 7€ range and gradually increase for returning individuals. But, there are some tournaments that don’t give out any payment.

One of those is Wimbledon, the tournament directors think that the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon should just be honored to be one of the chosen ones. Which makes sense, who wouldn’t want to be a ball boy for players like Roger Federer and Nadal for free?

There are many different ways to get paid as a ball boy other than money. For example in the Australian Open, the ball boys don’t get paid any money, but they receive an “end of the tournament” gift. Which can be everything from headphones to a tennis racquet. Most tournaments also offer free food every day during tournaments and free tickets for their family & friends.

Indirectly the biggest compensation for being a ball boy is the excitement of watching a game for free and being close up with tennis stars. As a ball boy, you don’t only run to catch up with the balls, you also interact a lot with the players on the court.

For example, if a player wants to get another drink, they shout for a ball boy. Also, when the players want their towel to wipe out their sweat, they once again need to interact with the ball boys.

How Do You Become a Ball Boy In Tennis?

There are several different ways to become a ball boy. It won’t be hard to become a ball boy for smaller tournaments, but most people that want to become one usually think about the grand slam tournaments.

But, what you don’t think about is that becoming a ball boy for the bigger tournaments is highly competitive and you need to undergo a rigorous selection process months before stepping a foot on the court.

Here is exactly how the ball boys are chosen for all the 4 grand slams and their compensations for being one.


The ball boys and girls for the Wimbledon championships are selected from year 9 and 10 students from a number of different schools that Wimbledon works with.

So, if you don’t live near the South East of London, your chances of becoming a ball boy at Wimbledon is pretty much dashed. Most ball boys that are selected for Wimbledon are 14-16 years old.

For a couple of years ago, the ball boys were paid about 100€/week. But, that has changed and there is today no compensation for being a ball boy at Wimbledon. The tournament directors think that the ball boys and girls should just be honored to be one of the chosen ones.


  • Year 9 or 10 Student in a Wimbledon collaboration school

Selection Process (160 Ball boys at Wimbledon)

  • Around 700 apply every year for Wimbledon (540 students & 160 ball boys from previous years)
  • 160 of those 540 year 9 and 10 students are selected
  • 90 of the 160 ball boys from previous years are selected
  • Total of 250 ball boys are selected and will undergo more training


  • Free food every day.
  • No payment

Once selected, the ball boys need to undergo in a vigorous training program that includes pshycial training, ball skills and tennis scoring. The training begins in February, which is months before the actual tournament that start in June.

US Open

There are 2 different ways to become a ball boy at the US Open. The first way to become one is to apply for their try-out that usually occurs during the early summer months.

There is no age limit to becoming a ball boy, so everyone is welcomed to their try-outs. Approximately 500 individuals apply for the tryouts and after a lot of different tests, 150 of those are selected to be ball boys at the US Open.

There are a total of 300 ball boys in the US Open every year and only 150 of those are chosen from tryouts. That is because the other half is chosen between the ball bays from previous years

Most people that attend the try-outs are from New York where the US Open and the try-outs are located. But there are also many people that have traveled from other states, with the hope of landing a coveted spot as a ball person at the US Open.


  • Everyone is welcomed to their try-outs

Selection Progress (300 Ball boys at US Open)

  • Around 500 Individuals apply for the try-outs
  • It’s hold in Callbacks during a week in June every year
  • After a week of testings, 150 of those 500 are selected
  • 150 of the 300 ball boys from the previous year, is selected
  • Total of 300 ball boys are selected and ready for more training

Compensation: The ball boys at US Open earns 7-11€ per hour

Australian Open

There are a total of 360 ball boys and girls every year at the Australian Open. They are selected from over 2500 applicants and include a lot of different nationalities. In the Australian Open 2020, 38 individuals were from overseas, 20 from Korea, 6 from China, 10 from India, and lastly 2 from France that represented Roland Garros, which Australian Open collaborate with.

The ball boys in the Australian Open don’t get paid, but they get free food every day and free tickets for family & friends. In addition, they get to keep their uniform and gets an end of the tournament gift. Which for example was a pair of Beats headphones after the 2017 tournament.

The selection process starts with level 1 trials, with all the 2500 individuals. They get cut that down to about 700, who goes to the level 2 trial for more tests. Those 700 eventually get cut down to 450, which will attend a four-month training regime.

One weekend a month all the participants go to the Open for match practice and to get feedback reports. At the end of the tryouts, there will be 360 ball boys selected for the Australian Open.


  • 12-15 Years old

Selection Progress (360 Ball boys at Australian Open)

  • Level 1 Trial: 2500 Individuals apply for the try outs, 700 gets through
  • Level 2 Trial: More tests, 700 gets cut down to 450
  • 4 month training regime for the 450 participants that are left
  • 360 of those 450 get selected to be a ball boy at the Australian Open

Compensation: End of the tournament gifts & Free match tickets for their family.

French Open

In order to become a ball boy at the French Open, you need to attend their 1 year-long program that takes place all over France. There are usually around 4000 applicants that take part in the tryouts and only 220 of them are selected to be one of the ball boys at the French Open. It’s true competition and challenge to become a ball at this tournament.

They get their ball skills and psychical abilities tested for a whole year, where the French Open ball boy managers continuously cut down the group to eventually only have 220 left that will have the opportunity to be a ball boy at the French Open.

There is no information about how the ball boys get paid at the French Open.

The Future Of Ball Boys and Their Compensation

There is no sign of ball boys disappearing in the future. It’s not just a job that is required for a match to go through smoothly, it’s also a very exciting experience for the kids that gets a chance to interact and be close up with their idols.

I don’t think the ball boys need to get paid, because they get indirectly paid in so many other ways that don’t include paper money.

The experience of being a ball boy at the biggest tournament is something that many kids just dream about. The chosen ones should just be honored and generally happy to have the opportunity to watch a professional tennis game for free, that the audience pays 100s of dollars to watch.

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