There was a spectacular plan to replace the ball boys and girls at Wimbledon with dogs.
However, as brilliant as the idea was, it has hilarious failed after the four-legged fetchers refused to give the tennis balls back to players.
Insurance provider ManyPets had previously urged tennis chiefs to consider the furry friends as an alternative to teen volunteers.
A trial was conducted at the UK's Wilton Tennis Club where a number of dogs underwent a series of tests looking at speed, agility, retrieval, and leaping over the net.
The dogs excelled on all fronts except the one that counts: actually returning the balls to players.
We knew there would be questions about how we'd make #WimbledonBallDogs possible. So in preparation, we trialed some Ball Dogs at Wilton Tennis Club 🎾🐶— ManyPets - formerly known as Bought By Many 🐶 🐱 (@manypets_uk) June 28, 2022
Here's how Hugo, Huxley, Dennis and Daisy got on - and some of our initial trial results… pic.twitter.com/hFh3bo3fGR
Club coordinator Martin Schiller told the Daily Star that the dogs required a bit of convincing to actually give up the tennis balls.
"Our players did find themselves in a game of tug-of-war," he told the Daily Star.
"We had a stash of treats on the sidelines to offer up as a bit of encouragement which certainly did the trick."
The fail comes shortly after ManyPets UK CEO Oke Eleazu called on Wimbledon organisers to consider their 'ball dogs' program for the 2023 tournament.
"We’re calling on Wimbledon to get our ‘Ball Dogs’ to centre-court next year," Eleazu said, as per the London Post.
"Our four-legged friends have always been highly regarded for their dedication and skill when it comes to chasing after tennis balls."
He added: "We hope that the nation will get behind our plea, and that Wimbledon grants our Ball Dog ambitions for 2023.”
ManyPets is still waiting on a formal response to their idea.
The move would mean the roughly 1,000 teens who apply to work at the Wimbledon tournament would be out of a job.
Only a quarter of teens are chosen to actually retrieve balls for some of the world's best tennis players in the all-star tournament.
Ball boys have been used at Wimbledon since the 1920s, with ball girls introduced decades later in 1977.
As for the fuzzy fetchers, they still have plenty of time to practice for the 2023 competition.
But they'll need to to step up their game by learning to drop the balls without a treat or pat.
Wimbledon 2022 kicked off on Monday (June 27) and has already been the subject of upset and controversy.
Serena Williams was knocked out in the first round, with some fans calling for her to retire.
Additionally, Novak Djokovic was cleared in April to defend his grand slam title after the tournament confirmed players will not have to provide Covid-19 vaccine accreditation to compete in this year's showdown.
He was blocked from competing at the Australian Open over the same issue.
Featured Image Credit: ManyPets/Twitter.
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