For the past six years, and since the ATP tournament returned to Atlanta, 16-year-old Sebastian Nunez from Buford has spent his summers volunteering as ball person at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Open to boys and girls 13 and older, this opportunity gives young tennis players unparalleled on-court access to some of the world’s best tennis players, playing the important role of retrieving out-of-play balls. Nunez was happy to share highlights from recent years and discuss what he’s looking forward to most at the 2017 tournament.
What do you like about being a ball person? I love being a ball boy just because of the experience of being on court with the players. It’s a very unique thing to be able to do and a great opportunity to see that level of tennis and what is required to get there. It’s a fun event the whole week and we get treated very well. I’ve had the opportunity to also be an airport greeter, where I got to go to the airport and pick up the players at baggage claim and take them to their car.
Why is being a ball person a great opportunity for young players? At that level of play, it’s just nuts! Watching on TV can’t even come close to showing how these guys play in person, how developed their games are, their perseverance and hard work, and watching them hit the balls as hard as they do. I think that’s something that, in person and on court especially, cannot be seen through any other perspective.
What has been your favorite experience at the BB&T Atlanta Open? My favorite memory was last year after the final when we got to the medal ceremony and got to take pictures with the champions and the trophies. That was a great moment.
What are you most looking forward to this year? I’m looking forward to the Bryan brothers coming. They are always fun to watch in doubles. I’m excited to see the new stadium design and a couple of other new things at the event, so I’m looking forward to seeing what those new changes will be.
What are your plans for the future? I’d like to go into operations in a couple of years, which is what most people who still want to be involved [with the BB&T Atlanta Open] do when they get to college. For now, I’m excited to continue as a ball boy and airport greeter.
—as told to Megan Copenhaver