Katherine has a ball with Federer and Rio at the O2

EASTBOURNE youngster Katherine Brown couldn’t hide her delight after getting up close and personal with the cream of world tennis – and England and Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Having won a nationwide competition the Cavendish School pupil shared the court at the O2 Arena with, among others, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

And after being part of the Barclay’s Ball Kids spotlight Brown, 16 – who saw off 2,500 other children to get her 15 minutes of fame - admitted it had been an experience to savour.

As well as sharing the court with the best the world of men’s tennis has to offer Brown also got chance to rub shoulders with Manchester United defender Ferdinand and couldn’t hide her delight.

“The adrenaline definitely kicked in when I was on the court and it was just a really good week,” said Brown – who appeared in front of 35,000 spectators a day at the London event and was also on court as Federer claimed the title on Sunday.

“I felt like I didn’t really breathe when I was on the court. Meeting the players and having them standing right in front of you was amazing.

“It was also really nice to meet Rio Ferdinand when he came to play a game and some of the ball kids were on court for it.

“He was lovely and so funny and really nice. I support Manchester United so it was really nice to meet him, he was quite good at tennis apart from his serve and his back hand.”

And former world number one and three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker, who was among those to select Brown during the initial stages of the competition, was quick to praise the Eastbourne youngster.

“The kids were great on the court all week,” said Becker.

“It’s not an easy task, they have to train a lot and be very disciplined and be very fit. “They were being watched by millions of people with thousands inside the arena. It was a nerve-racking thing and they did very well.”

For more information on becoming a Barclays Ball Kid at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London visit www.barclaysballkids.com

PICTURED: Katherine is a picture of concentration at the O2 on Sunday