Silence the golden rule for ballboys and girls at Wimbledon

Did you know? The 160-strong group of ballboys and ball girls are forbidden from talking when they are in training for Wimbledon because communication is not allowed when on court.

As a matter of principle, the Wimbledon's ballboys and girls aren't allowed to talk when during training, when they're on the court, or even when they're seated on the sidelines watching the game.   -  AP Photo

Fiery Australian Nick Kyrgios might do well to undergo ball boy and girl training for Wimbledon -- as one of their rules is no talking! The roughly 160-strong group are forbidden from talking when they are in training for the Championships as communication is not allowed when on court.

In total, there are 42 six-person teams used at the championships, largely debutants but also some who have already been at previous editions.

Sarah Goldson, who has been Ball Boys and Ball Girls manager since 2012, says the no talking rule is enforced from the moment training begins in February. “They don’t speak to each other in training, there is no conversation,” she said on Saturday.

“They know each other’s name only when they sign in. It is a discipline. When they sit on the side and watch during training they are told not to talk,” she added.

Wimbledon's ballkids manage to sneak a peek of the ongoing matches during their off-court time.   -  Reuters


However, this code of silence for the teams -- who range in ages from 14 to 18 and can take part in a maximum of five Wimbledons -- is not for off the court as well.

“During the championships off-court they are having a great time playing table tennis and cards.

“My belief is their lifelong friends will be their team and in each team only two or three come from the same school,” she said.

The ballboys and girls -- who are expected to arrive at 0900GMT and leave after the last court has closed -- do not get paid but receive expenses while their parents get a pair of ground passes.

Goldson, who usually has 1000 applicants from 31 local schools for the 160 places, says the rule may sound draconian but it is necessary.

“I just don’t think they need to talk,” she said.

“They can ask questions of course (in training).

“On court we are watching them in the crowd (there are 12 senior instructors and 20 assistants who have been ball boys and girls at previous Wimbledons) and they know they must not talk to each other.

“As soon as they get off the court (each team has one hour shifts) they can talk,” she said.

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