Updated: Wednesday, 11th December 2019 @ 3:04pm

Sale schoolboy can't wait to get up close and personal with tennis superstars Murray and Nadal

Sale schoolboy can't wait to get up close and personal with tennis superstars Murray and Nadal

By Tom Reynolds, Sportsbeat

Sale schoolboy Julius Pope admits his chance to get up close and personal with tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals can’t come quick enough.

After fighting off competition from 2,500 children across the country Pope, 13, will be one of 30 Barclays Ball Kids at the O2 Arena in London from 20-27 November.

Pope spent his half-term at the Hampshire Health & Racquets Club in Southampton being put through his paces ready for his week in the spotlight in the capital.

And, while he is expecting a tough week’s work at the O2, the Altrincham Grammar School for Boys pupil can’t wait to share the court with Murray and co.

“It was a hard week at the training camp and very tiring,” said Pope, who will also rub shoulders with Novak Djokovic – winner of three of the four Grand Slams in 2011 – and 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer.

“I have been a ball boy before at the Bolton Arena for the Davis Cup but Andy Murray wasn’t playing so I am really looking forward to seeing the best eight players in the world.

“It will be good to see all of them but seeing Rafael Nadal is the main one I would like to be on court with.”

Over 35,000 spectators a day will see Pope in action at the eight-day season finale, which sees the cream of world tennis go head-to-head for total prize money of nearly three million pounds.

And, while itching to get started, the 13-year-old believes there’ll be more than a few nerves when he steps out onto court for the first time later this month.

“I am feeling excited but I am very nervous as well,” added Pope.  “I have a good group though and we know what we are doing now after the training week so it should be a really good experience.”

For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit www.barclaysballkids.com