Blake and Sarah go to their assigned court and warm up for 20 minutes with their court team (three groups of six, who rotate every 40 minutes, giving the resting members time to eat and cool down).
They are well drilled in the importance of stretching out calves, quads, hamstrings, adductors and hip flexors. Before the players arrive on court, the squad have a brief preparatory talk with their evaluator with tips pertinent to the players scheduled on court.
Working for players who have quirky rituals about how they are presented with balls and towels might sound stressful.
“Not at all,” Blake and Sarah say in unison, who relish the concentration and the privilege in being on court. As Blake says, “No one is there to watch the ball kids except our evaluators. If we’re doing our job well, we’re invisible.”
They have both experienced cameo moments in the limelight, prompting the crowd to burst into applause.
“I took a decent catch when Federer flicked the ball to the net,” recalls Blake, while Dominic Thiem posted an image of Sarah at work on his court at Brisbane on his social media.
During their stints on court each day, every individual ramasseur is evaluated from 0-10 on their performance in five categories. The top-ranked will earn the right to work the show courts for the finals.
9pm – The bus leaves Roland-Garros.
9.30pm – Arrive back at the hotel. Collect laundered kits and prepared for the following day. In bed by 10.30pm.