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2024 Wimbledon: How much do ball boys and girls get paid?

Around 1,000 teenagers apply to become a ‘BBG’ at the world’s most famous grass surface tennis tournament with a quarter being selected.

Around 1,000 teenagers apply to become a ‘BBG’ at the world’s most famous grass surface tennis tournament with a quarter being selected.

Wimbledon’s team of ball boys and girls (BBGs - note: not ‘ball kids’...) are the unsung heroes of the tennis world. These mysterious, attentive beings, carefully plucked from a pool of 250 teenagers in the southwest area of London, are the secret, always appearing from the shadows to ensure that the tournament runs like a well-oiled machine.

With ages mostly ranging from 14 to 17, these chosen few possess the magical ability to fetch balls with grace, speed, silence and precision, all while maintaining an air of anonymity. It’s almost as if the tennis gods themselves handpicked them.

Adult BBGs at the All England Club

However, not all of the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon are of school age - to make it more exclusive, the age limit has now been lifted. In 2019, 47-year-old Dennis Gibbons became the first adult hired for the job. In general though, the average age of a ‘BBG’ is 15 years with many of them returning to take part in a second tournament.

How much money do ball boys and girls make at Wimbledon?

The average earnings for ball boys and girls working at Wimbledon is approximately £200, around $253 dollars for the duration of the tournament.

In reality, it’s a symbolic payment - closer to weekly pocket money than an actual wage, bearing in mind that schoolchildren under the age of 16 are not entitled to the minimum wage. And seeing as the payment works out at less than £123 per week, it is exempt from PAYE and other tax deductions. The court assistants will however be able to keep their official kit as a memento.

Ball boys and girls typically spend one hour on court at a time, rotating shifts between them. For obvious reasons, the plum shifts are on Centre Court and No.1 Court. Six teams of six are selected for Centre and No.1 Courts with the remainder rotating around the rest of the courts.

In a typical year, the Championships employ around 250 ball boys and girls, who have an average age of 15. This originates from a pool consisting of approximately 1,000 applicants. Approximately 170 individuals are chosen from a pool of 750 students in years 9 and 10, while an additional 80 participants are selected from a group of approximately 250 ball boys and girls who have served in previous years.