Shelter dogs used as tennis ballboys in Brazil

(AP Photo/Leandro Martins)

Leandro Martins/AP

The Brazil Open, a third-tier men’s tournament in, duh, Brazil is trying to spice up its event with a gimmick. It’s not the first time this has happened in tennis — blue clay, scantily-clad ballgirls, giving a wild-card to Nick Kyrgios have all gone down before. But this may be the cutest gimmick the sport has ever seen.

Shelter dogs from Sao Paolo were used to retrieve balls in an exhibition match this week at the tournament but, as anyone who’s ever played catch with a golden retriever knows, the dogs proved too unreliable in dropping the balls off to the players, choosing instead to circle around them, adorably, I might add.

Though the dogs didn’t look too adept at tennis, they’ve already been installed as bigger favorites to win the French Open than Rafael Nadal.