Game, set and match to David

WHILE most kids his age enjoy summer by the beach, David Hodson is sweating it out on court at Melbourne Park with some the world's best tennis players.

David, 14, of East Launceston, is one of two Tasmanians selected as ball kids for the 2014 Australian Open, which starts next week.

It is the second time the Scotch Oakburn College student has been part of the event after taking to the courts last year.

"When I went over to the Australian Open two years ago I saw a couple of ball boys and asked how I could get involved," David said.

After filling out an online entry form, attending a "nerve- racking" trial, where he had to show off his ball rolling and teamwork skills, David received an email with a big blue congratulations.

"I was very thrilled and felt privileged," David said.

He then spent three months training with the ball boy squad before last year's event and has had to do the same with the squad of 380 this year.

David has been given a leadership role this year and is spending this week at Melbourne Park helping the 26 international ball kids from Korea and China with their skills.

He has also attended six on- court training sessions to work on his own ball handling skills and learn about servicing players' needs.

"There's been several times I've thrown the ball and thought why did I do that but as long as you recover and make it discreet it's OK," David said.

"It's quite interesting seeing the different players and learning about them.

"Rafael [Nadal] always has two drink bottles and the labels are always facing the way that he's going to go to next."

David said Nadal was his favourite player and he would love to ball boy for him one day.

He missed out on working during the finals last year but hopes to ball boy on Hisense or Rod Laver arena this year.

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