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Ballrunning: Harder than it Looks

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By Jeremy Donovan.
While you're in the stands watching the players and the action on the court. They're standing on the sides focused on the ball and the net. The ballrunners for the LG&T Tennis Challenger have been practicing for weeks to make sure you don't notice they're even there.

"For USTA, they want everything to run as smoothly as possible," said Damien Prohaska, Ballrunner Trainer. "So the purpose of the practices is just so they feel comfortable out there and get to know the supervisors and are able to trust us a bit more and just so they know they're going to be okay out there and they know what they're doing and they can have fun while they're doing it."

While the kids do enjoy the chance to meet the players and get autographs,it's not all fun and games. But when things go wrong the returning ballrunners are kind enough to help out the rookies.

"Always know where the balls are going to be and if they need a little reminder you can give it to them on the match like 'oh, the balls are going down there, roll it down,' something like that," said third year ballrunner Rohil Khatkhate.

"They stay very alert, and they're always watching the game which is something I need to work on," said first year ballrunner Corby Guba.

"One thing that we definitely emphasize on court is just pay attention. When you have a 120 mph serves coming a you, you want to be paying attention," Prohaska said.

To find out just exactly how hard it is to be a ballrunner, Fox 40 Sports Director Jeremy Donovan gave it a shot, with mixed results.

"Jeremy would be probably... he's got potential," Prohaska said. "He's got a big frame but we could keep him at the baseline, maybe the net would be a bit of a challenge for him."

Needless to say, we're all better off leaving it to the kids that actually know what they're doing.

The LG&T Tennis Challenger begins on Saturday with qualifying matches throughout the weekend before tournament play begins on Monday running through July 26. All matches are at Binghamton's Rec Park.