Young Gwynedd tennis player rubs shoulders with world's best

Reporter:

Tomos Hughes

AN UP-and-coming Gwynedd tennis player has been reflecting on the part he recently played at one of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments.

Cai Llwyd Jones, aged 12, from Rhiwlas, was the youngest ever to be selected as a ‘ball kid’ for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London.

Cai said: “When you get to the O2, you realise how huge it is.

“When you first run on court you’re really nervous thinking about all the people watching you.

“But by the end of the week, you get used to it - it was amazing I loved it. The time on court went too quickly and I just wanted to get back on.

“I loved being on court seeing my favourite tennis players close up.”

Cai said all players were friendly, and off-court he got to talk to Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

Following his win, Cai had congratulated Federer - "Well done, you played well tonight". Federer returned the compliment and told Cai that he was a very good ball kid and that he'd done a great job too.

Also among the youngster’s highlights was being struck by a 135mph serve from Milos Raonic during his semi-final with Federer, which gave Cai a ‘Raonic first serve bruise’ on his shoulder - something which he was very proud of.

Cai added: "This has been the best thing I have ever done. I've made some really good friends, I just wish I could do it again next year.

“I wouldn't change a thing about my time at the O2, but I wish Nadal could have made it, I would have liked to see him play and meet him.”

Having already played at county and regional level, Cai’s aim is to pursue a career in the sport and to play like his heroes in the O2 and at Wimbledon. 

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