CROYDON'S Tijan Lambert was the British star at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in the absence of Wimbledon champion Andy Murray – and he admitted to loving every minute of it.
Having won a nationwide competition, the 13-year-old Langley Park School pupil shared the court with the cream of world tennis at the O2 as one of 30 Barclays Ball Kids.
Back surgery put an end to Wimbledon champion Murray's hopes of appearing but Lambert still rubbed shoulders with this year's French Open and US Open winner, Rafael Nadal, in London.
And after playing a starring role in the capital, Lambert – who saw off thousands of youngsters to get his eight days of fame – insisted it was an experience he would never forget.
"It was so good to be on court with such great players," said Lambert – who appeared in front of 20,000 spectators a day at the O2.
"The first time I went on court, we were all backstage just shaking with nerves but once I went on and started concentrating it was fine.
"The best thing was running on for the [Roger] Federer versus [Novak] Djokovic match – that was amazing, the crowd was cheering so loud.
"Djokovic is great, his athleticism is amazing, he is just great. It was quite tiring but all the hard work was definitely worth it. If I had to recommend it, I would definitely tell people to go for it."
Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker helped choose Lambert, who plays at Parklangley Tennis Club, for the O2 role where he caught the eye of 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin del Potro.
Del Petro met Lambert off the court at the O2 to give him hints and tips and the world No 5 admitted he did a sterling job for all the players involved.
"I was ten years old [when I was a ball boy] at a Futures tournament in Buenos Aires and I remember all the players who played that tournament," said Del Potro.
"I know how big it is for the ball kids, meeting all the players, giving the balls to all of us.
"I think they're great, they're smart, they know when we ask for our towels, our drinks and they are so professional too."
For more information about the Barclays Ball Kids programme, go to barclaysballkids.com or visit the Barclays Ball Kids Facebook page.