Royal Albert Hall Replacing Traditional Ball Boys With Trained Dogs for Tennis Matches

Everyone knows that man’s best friend has no problem chasing down a ball. The Royal Albert Hall plans to put this pawfect skill to use in upcoming tennis matches.

Trained dogs will replace traditional ball boys or ball girls to retrieve tennis balls that are no longer in play during matches. The “ball dogs” have speed on their side, so retired British professional tennis player Tim Henman is hopeful that after all the practice, the dogs will deliver.

Henman, alongside other trainers and tennis player Tommy Haas, has been assisting in training the pups to not only retrieve tennis balls, but know when to stay. 

“The dogs obviously are pretty good at chasing the balls, they do that a lot of time, but on a tennis court they’ve got to be in the right place at the right time and then ideally during the rallies, they’re meant to sit still,” said Henman.

He added that this group of dogs looked “promising.”

As for whether the dogs may be a distraction to other players? Henman, who will be returning to the Royal Albert Hall courts to play, says he hopes so.

“I’ve had a bit of practice now in the lead up to the event and obviously today being out on the courts, so I think I’m ready to have the dogs out on the court, whereas if my opponents aren’t, that’s going to be to my advantage,” said Henman.