CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – What might seem like a small task is arguably one of the biggest responsibilities of the Credit One Charleston Open tennis tournament.

Thousands of tennis balls go across the net every day, and the Ball Crew is responsible for tracking them.

Dozens of volunteers — some as young as nine — make sure every match on every court runs smoothly, chasing balls that fly out of bounds and having a replacement at the ready.

“When we had COVID, the only volunteers we had out here were the ball crew, so that kind of tells you where we rank in importance as far as what the players care about,” said Ball Crew Co-Chairman Danny Hayes.

For Ball Crew members like Lila Small, who is a tennis player herself, the work provides valuable opportunity, experience, and exposure.

“It’s a really good opportunity to be on court and watch some really good tennis,” Small said. “The environment is so positive and happy, I mean, I love it here.”

Hayes said that while the Charleston Open Ball Crew is probably one of the youngest in the world, he believes it is one of the best in the country.