QUEENS, N.Y. – Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and other tennis superstars will take center stage in Queens next month for the 2019 U.S. Open.
Joining them on the court will be Mohegan Lake resident Evan Bray.
The 41-year-old father of four young girls is making his debut as a “ballperson” for the popular tennis tournament, which is played every year at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
During the two-week commitment, for which he will earn just above minimum wage, Bray said he will continue to work his day job as a building code and zoning consultant in New York City.
“I just like tennis,” Bray said. “I just thought that it would be cool.”
More than 500 people tried out for the job in June but only 150 were selected, according to the U.S. Open’s website. After making it through initial tryouts, Bray was called back and his skills were tested in a live tennis match featuring junior players.
Ballpersons play a crucial role in many sports, but they are particularly important in tennis, where their ability to quickly retrieve and deliver balls to players helps to maintain a rapid pace of play.
They may also be required to provide other assistance to the players, such as delivering towels and drinks.
Bray said the job, which requires a lot of running and squatting, is physically demanding.
“After each tryout, I was in pain for a while,” Bray said.
In addition to training his body, Bray has been preparing for the U.S. Open by studying the game.
He is also required to participate in three mandatory training sessions on July 9 and 10, July 23 and 24, and Aug. 11 to 13. The tournament begins on Aug. 26.
Though Bray said it will be “cool” to be on the court with world-class athletes, the Mohegan Lake resident does not anticipate being starstruck.
“I’m there to do a job,” Bray said.