Imagine being a 14-year-old aspiring tennis star, rubbing shoulders with sporting royalty in Roger Federer and Serena Williams.
It is an experience that many would think may never happen again.
But for budding tennis talent Robbie Mifka, 15, he has the chance to do just that at this year’s Australian Open.
Mifka was a ballkid at last year’s event and has again been selected to do the same job.
With the grand slam beginning on Monday, Mifka was one of five lucky Goulburn Valley children to be selected as a ballkid at the year’s first grand slam.
Along with Mifka, Mitchell Roche (Shepparton), Zavier Briggs (Kyabram), brothers Harry and Oscar Crilly (Mooroopna) and 375 other ballkids will also be strutting their stuff alongside the world’s top tennis players.
Mifka is excited at the opportunity to grace the Melbourne Park courts again.
‘‘This will be my second year, it is pretty exciting,’’ Mifka said.
Born on Christmas Eve, Mifka was lucky enough to be a ballkid during last year’s quarter-final matches on Rod Laver Arena.
‘‘The best game I did was Roger Federer versus Thomas Berdych and Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova,’’ Mifka said.
Surprisingly, it was not the Swiss maestro he was most excited about seeing this year, despite mingling with him last year.
Hopefully for Mifka’s sake, the schedule falls in his favour and he gets the opportunity to be courtside with his favourite player Nick Kyrgios.
‘‘We don’t find out which court we will be on until the day, but hopefully I see Kyrgios,’’ Mifka said.
The imposing talent believed his own game emulated that of Kyrgios — at least the good side.
‘‘I like to play exciting tennis and I’m a big server too, so I am little similar to him,’’ Mifka said.
Some of the world’s best tennis players, including Federer and Australia’s own Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, were ballkids before joining the professional ranks.
The opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in world sport is just one of the reasons thousands of junior tennis fans apply for a role at the tournament each year.