Tennis fans are in shock today after learning that ballkids are not paid at the Australian Open for their work.
Around 2,500 under 18s apply to be a ballkid each year and it turns out that less than one in five are successful, making it is a competitive position to attain.
Their work doesn’t just start once the tournament begins, the selection process and training prior to the event is around a year long process.
Once the games begin, they are front and centre to make sure that the matches run smoothly and are often working long hours, outside in Melbourne’s January heat and into all hours of the night. All without being paid a cent.
A Reddit user raised the question, “How is this not child exploitation?” Stating that the Australian Open ballkids were paid up until 2008, when they were then reclassified as volunteers.
However, some other ballkids around the world receive a payment, such as at Wimbledon where they receive approximately $350 AUD a week, while ballkids at the U.S. open receive New York’s minimum hourly wage of around $15 AUD.
Though, some argue that the kids love the experience and relish in the chance to be able to get so close to their idols and given that they choose apply and are not forced, others say that it cannot be exploitation.