When dreams come true

You are eleven or twelve years old, and suddenly, knowing that you are going to give balls to Nadal, to Tsitsipas, to the best players on clay. And, of course, the nerves arrive. “They are professional players. You’re on TV. And you don’t stop thinking about not messing up, especially if it’s your first year”. The ball kid is Alberta Soler, one of the many ball kids who have taken part in this Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

For Soler it is not the first tournament in which she is seen inside the court. But the nerves are still present. And, in addition, all these lively adolescents this year have had to adapt to certain changes due to the happy pandemic. “Even if you get to have a little bad moment, you forget everything because later you notice there is a lot of camaraderie. We have been waiting all year for this week and it is always a tremendous excitement when they choose you to go out on the court”, adds this young fan and tennis lover.

Ignacio Laca also insists that “on the court there is always a moment, a mistake, that makes you nervous. But then you have a laugh with your colleagues, with whom you make a team even though you have just met them in the last week”. Alberta and Ignacio can’t hide their smiles, despite the masks. And they don’t hide a certain regret either because neither of them will be ball kids next year.

Do they have any anecdotes worth telling? Alberta got stung by a bee. Yes, in the middle of a game. And she didn’t know what to do, how to hide the desire she had to scratch or at least look at the bite. Ignacio recognizes that, when he debuted in the tournament, he had to be at a Rafa Nadal match. And at a time when, “the truth, I was not paying much attention Rafa served and I got hit by his ball”. “I still think he is the best,” Ignacio admits with a laugh.

There are almost fifty kids who have loved tennis since they were little. When they see themselves giving balls to the greatest of the circuit, they feel those goosebumps that are so difficult to manage. But when the lights go out, they unleash that self-confidence of age. And they say, in their own way, that it was a dream, one that came true, one of the nicest.