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US Open switches from throwing to rolling for ballpersons

Tryouts begin on June 26 at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.

Ballpersons will no longer have to throw the

Ballpersons will no longer have to throw the ball at the U.S. Open. Tryouts begin on June 26 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Photo Credit: Ashley Marshall

You no longer need a pitching arm to be a tennis ballperson at the US Open.

Ballpersons, who retrieve errant balls during tennis matches, will now roll the balls to the players instead of tossing them, the United States Tennis Association announced on Thursday.

Officials said this could attract a wider pool of candidates for the job.

“In the past, potential applicants may have decided not to try out because of the daunting nature of the throw,” Stacey Allaster, chief executive of professional tennis at the USTA said in a statement. “We hope that those same individuals will now come out for the tryout this year, as well as those that may have not made the cut in the past, solely due to their throwing prowess.”

The coveted job provides an up close view of the world’s top tennis players in a Grand Slam event that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The pay for ballpersons starts at minimum wage and increases for those who return. They also get daily meal credits and they can keep their Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms.

Tryouts for about 100 ballperson slots at the Open are scheduled for June 26 at 4 p.m. at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where the open is played. Registration starts at 3 p.m.

Applicants must be at least 14 years old and be available to work anytime during the Open which runs from Aug. 21 through Sept. 9.

Online preregistration and more information about the ballperson try outs is available at usopen.org/ballperson.

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