The U.S. Open was criticized this week when an investigative report revealed that the tournament has been using only purebred ball boys for years.
“It’s horrible. They send all the mutts and runts to the tennis mills at the lower level tournaments,” noted journalist Eleanor Parkes, who initially broke the story. “And the treatment of the ball boys — long hours in the sun with no water, forcing them to strike these odd poses before throwing the balls — it’s borderline inhumane. But they do that at the U.S. Open too, though. Wow, tennis is weird.”
According to the report, in order to qualify their ball boys for a major tournament, breeders must provide documentation demonstrating the impeccable bloodlines of all candidates. In one harrowing case, the top-performing ball boy at Ball Boy Obedience School was denied entry because a DNA test revealed that, twenty generations ago, his family intermingled with the family of a golf caddies.
“The part you need to remember is that these ball boys did nothing wrong,” Parkes added. “The exploitation of ball boys is, depressingly, a business. And until the institution of tennis really takes a good long look in the mirror, and these millionaire athletes learn to walk the six feet to pick up their balls like the rest of us, the abuse will continue.”
The Westminster Ball Boy Show will be held later this month in New York City.