A national championship for an Australian junior tennis player is one of the biggest events in the year. This is the moment you can assess where you stand as a player on a national level.
Many parents and players think that these events are a “be all and end all” as such, however it certainly isn’t the case. In the larger scheme of things, any strong result at a national championship will be remembered as a great accolade on a players CV but other than that, it doesn’t hold much more bearing.
I believe that the purpose of a national championship is to compete against different opposition, many of whom you have never competed against before, gain a new perspective on the game on a national level and to build networks. Eligibility into this tournament is based on prior tournament results and being an invitiational, these players are the best of the best to say the least.
Grass court tennis is sadly a dying art, with approximately 4 professional events held on that surface in the entire year. However, it’s a great surface for junior tennis players to be exposed to because it keeps a player honest, in the sense that there are no true bounces on a grass court as opposed to a hard court. Players are required to stay on their toes just that little longer to accommodate for the unconventional bounces and keep their body weight lower than usual due to the ball staying a lot lower off the bounce.
I was fortunate enough to have a student of mine be invited to the Australian Grasscourt Championships this year. Rahul Desai, whom I have been coaching for a couple of years now, played a very good tournament and recorded some fabulous wins. I only spent a couple of lessons with Rahul where we worked on specific grass court tennis strategy, because I felt that we didn’t need to dedicate too much time on playing with a game style he won’t be using for more than a few weeks. Having said that, his performances during the event proved that it was more than enough preparation time for a player of his standard to adapt comfortably to the surface.
Overall, he came 4th out of 32 boys and his entire team was very proud of how he represented himself and the state of NSW at this national event.
Take a look at Rahul’s journey throughout the tournament here: 12/u & 14/u Australian Grasscourt Championships Tournament Draws