Sometimes the good ideas are right in front of you, aren’t they? Dogs love chasing things. Wimbledon needs tennis balls retrieved quickly. Surely it’s a match made in heaven?

No. The answer is no. For some inexplicable reason – too much free time perhaps – a pet insurance company called ManyPets conducted an experiment at London’s Wilton Tennis Club to look into the potential of trained dogs replacing ball boys and girls at Wimbledon this year.

Hey, if they can lead blind people safely across streets, grabbing aimless tennis balls should have been a breeze, but it didn’t work out that way.

Poorly behaved canines swiftly disrupted the cunning plan –  while the dogs managed to successfully fetch the tennis balls, the issue arose when they refused to return their new chew toys back without first receiving a treat. The dogs were also prone to returning the balls with lots of slobber, which probably wouldn’t be ideal for a player.

“We thought this was a great opportunity to give pets in the UK an opportunity to do what they love the most, which is to chase after balls,” ManyPets co-founder Steven Mendel told BBC News (see below). “The love of pets and their balls and Wimbledon all brought together.”

According to Mendel, the dogs’ performances flitted between “spectacular” and “something veering towards chaos.” Despite this, they retain hope of seeing the dogs make it to Wimbledon eventually. “It’s fair to say that we’re a work in progress and have a long way to go to be ready for next year,” he insisted. “But we’re optimistic.”

While the famously fusty Wimbledon – players can only wear all-white outfits – is highly unlikely to allow dogs onto the courts, the sight of Rafael Nadal hastily chucking some dog biscuits out of his pocket would be quite something. Good luck, ManyPets!

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