AO Press Release, December 4, 2017
The Australian Open has joined forces with Vegemite, one of Australia’s most loved brands.
In a landmark all-Australian partnership, Vegemite has been named the official Australian Open ballkid partner and will help fuel the ballkid squad throughout their training and official duties.
The final 350-strong ballkid squad was announced today and includes 304 Victorians, 18 from interstate and 28 international ballkids from France, China and Korea, all of whom are set to roll alongside the world’s top tennis players at Australian Open 2018.
The 350 ballkids were selected from more than 2500 applicants around Australia and the Asia-Pacific following months of extensive training.
Ashleigh Barty, Australia’s top-ranked player and 2017 Newcombe Medal winner has been named Vegemite Ambassador for the AO ballkids and is excited about partnering with one of her favourite foods.
“I’ve grown up eating Vegemite and now travel the tennis circuit with a tube of Vegemite in my luggage.
“I’m excited to work with such an iconic Australian brand and to support the Australian Open ballkids, who are so important to the success of the tournament.”
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said the AO ballkid program is one of the most highly regarded in world tennis.
“Our ballkids are an integral part of the Australian Open and are vital to ensuring the matches run smoothly,” Tiley said.
“We receive more than 2500 applications and the desire to be involved in one of the world’s best ballkid programs increases year-on-year.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for the kids. Not only do they have the chance to be on court alongside the world’s best tennis players, they develop great teamwork and communication skills. It’s an extraordinary experience for them and something they will remember for a lifetime.
“We are delighted Vegemite has come on board with the Australian Open and can’t wait to see what they have in store.”
General Manager of Bega Foods and Vegemite Adam McNamara added, “Vegemite can’t wait to kick off the partnership with the Australian Open ballkid squad, who are one of the most visible assets of the entire tournament.
“The Australian Open is such an iconic event and by fuelling the ballkids we will also be showcasing Australia’s most loved spread to the world.
“The Vegemite brand is focused on vitality, with Vegemite being one of the richest sources of B Vitamins, we are thrilled to be helping fuel the AO ballkids in 2018.”
Some of the world’s best tennis players, including Roger Federer, and Australia’s own Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, were ballkids before joining the professional ranks.
The international contingent comprises the top two Roland Garros 2017 ballkids, six ballkids from this year’s China Open and 20 children from Korea.