East Sheen student mingles with world tennis stars


Linnea Bengtsson couldn’t hide her delight after rubbing shoulders with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at the ATP World Tour Finals.


By Tom Reynolds

EAST Sheen’s Linnea Bengtsson couldn’t hide her delight after getting up close and personal with the cream of world tennis at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Having won a nationwide competition the Putney High School pupil shared the court at the O2 Arena with, among others, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

And after her week in the Barclays Ball Kid spotlight Bengtsson, 15 – who saw off 2,500 other children to get her 15 minutes of fame – admitted it had been an experience to savour.

In addition to her time on court with the top eight players in the world Bengtsson also put Djokovic himself through his paces as a ball boy and said: “The week has been amazing and it was so surreal being next to the top eight players in the world,” said Bengtsson, who appeared in front of 35,000 spectators a day at the London event and was also on court for Federer’s victory in Sunday’s final.

“Novak Djokovic was really nice backstage and I have never really been a huge fan of his but he was so sweet it was great.  We also showed him how to be a ball kid one day and he taught us how to say smile in Serbian. 

“Then when he came off after losing to David Ferrer we said it to him and he laughed.”

And former world number one and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, who was among those to select Bengtsson during the initial stages of the competition, was quick to praise the East Sheen youngster. 

“The kids were great on the court all week,” said Becker.

“It’s not an easy task, they have to train a lot and be very disciplined and be very fit.  “They were being watched by millions of people with thousands inside the arena.  It was a nerve-racking thing and they did very well.”

For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit



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