I don’t know if the girls at Withington want to address a potentially controversial subject but the following may be of interest.
During the two years I was at Wimbledon a number of articles were published in the press about Ball Boy selection. One such article
stated that hundreds of tennis balls were thrown on to the sports field and all the boys rushed after them. The boys that collected the
most balls were selected as Ball Boys. This was completely untrue and the only prerequisites as far as I knew, were to be physically fit
and fairly nimble.
So, what if you were a perfect example of physical fitness, and a fine athlete, and very agile… and black? This was the lot of Rastus Woods,
although I never thought about it at the time, it must have given both Goldings and Wimbledon something of a headache. There was
certainly no colour prejudice in Goldings but was there ever a black person on the Wimbledon courts prior to 1953? I don’t think so.
Rastus Woods did attend Wimbledon that year but he was not seen on the courts. He was given a special job of relaying the results
from the outside courts to the control centre. We all thought he was lucky to have been chosen for such a special job. Little did we
realize the truth behind the selection.
A few years later a black boy did Ball Boy at Wimbledon but you must read Dixie Deane’s article for the background to that.
(Rastus Woods can be seen on the 1953 Ball Boy photo. He is in the back row fourth from the left.)