This time of year is an extremely exciting period for tennis in Australia. The Australian Open is around the corner, including a plethora of lead-in tournaments for both the professional and junior players of all nations.
This month, the best 12u and 14u Australian juniors head to Melbourne Park to contest in the biggest team championships of the year. Rahul Desai, one of my students whom I have been working with over the past 18 months had informed me that he was going to be a part of this event, representing NSW. He has worked very hard, applied himself at all times and naturally, I am so excited for him to be part of the event. The opportunity to experience the Open season atmosphere in Melbourne Park is truly a moment to cherish. Melbourne at this time of year for a tennis player is like Florida throughout the entire year 🙂 It really transforms into a tennis epicentre in this country. Everyone from the concierge at the hotel to the taxi drivers and cafe owners are talking about tennis.
At some point, we had to get serious and talk about the actual tournament and what I wanted him to focus on. The key factors of this event for me was to inform Rahul that he needed to concentrate on the big picture and learn how to adapt to varying conditions. Anyone can be a great tennis player on their good days, but how about the days when things aren’t going your way? This is the moment where your true character shines bright, as there really is nowhere to hide on court. I asked Rahul, “what kind of reputation do you want to have as a tennis player?” I let him ponder the idea for a while. I proceeded to say “let’s build your reputation as a competitor and a serious contender in every match you play”.
I couldn’t be more proud of his efforts, playing in both singles and doubles rubbers for NSW, Rahul won 4 from 5 rubbers for his team, taking 1st place in their pool. His team mates included William Hatzis and Eric Tripathi. The opposition included teams from Japan, Australian All Stars and Northern Territory. The boys moved into the playoff, beating South Australia to reach the SF. They lost to team VIC, who also were the eventual winners of the event by 2-1 rubbers. They finished the event in 4th place out of 14 teams which included representative teams from China and the Oceania region among others. Well done boys!
Take a look at his journey throughout this event here: 2015 12u & 14u Australian Teams Championships