It is late here in Melbourne after getting in from British player Colin Flemings mixed doubles quarter final – he followed Djokovic/Ferrer on Rod Laver Arena. I had considered going straight to bed, but I feel there is so much that has happened in the last couple days that I really wanted to share it with you!
I have to start with this story – Colin Beecher, another British coach who is out here (it has been a great team spirit) was asked to hit with Andy Murray after his walkover match. Within the first few minutes of the hit- Ivan Lendl is really shouting at Beech if he misses a shot and abusing his technique, really badly! Beech does not know what is going on and after 20 minutes, they can’t hold the joke any longer as Andy and Ivan are cracking up.. Andy has told Ivan to be really tough on Beech and abuse his technique as a prank. It’s great to see that these top guys have a sense of humour. It has done Beech no harm as he practiced with Ivan today for well over an hour and I was fortunate enough to meet Ivan and watch him in action- he still hits a great ball and seems an incredibly relaxed nice guy.
Since I last wrote JWH has advanced to the quarter finals of the boys singles and himself and Liam Broady into the semis of the doubles. Josh has put in two top class performances against the world number 8 and 9 juniors and showed a real maturity in his game, so he should as he turned 18 today! I have also been very impressed with how Liam has bounced back from his tough singles defeat, it shows great character! A shout out to Kyle Edmund too, who is the other British junior who has advanced to the quarter finals.
Fingers crossed for more good performances tomorrow…
So, possibly the experience of the trip so far was today when Liam was asked to hit with Roger Federer, yes THE Roger Federer, on Rod Laver Arena. Liam asked me to go on court with him and what an honour it was! We met Roger and Paul Annacone at the practice desk and right away Roger spoke to me about our junior days and about all the British guys we both know. We talked through old times at events, and matches – I felt like I was talking to a long lost mate! He had great things to say about a good friend of mine Simon Dickson who beat Roger at under 16 level- Roger remembered and we joked that Simon has been getting jobs left right and centre on the back of his name ever since!
The practice was relaxed, smooth, even witty at times. Rogers hard work has been done and it was very much a `feel` session and boy does he have some feel!
We finished up with some more banter and he showed a great interest in our Soto Tennis Academy players and the Academy himself- I offered him a scholarship, I will await with eagerness to see if he takes it up! I reckon I could do something with that talent!
The trip continues to surprise, excite and motivate…
Its 2.10 am and I’m done in. The alarm goes off in 5 hours and I’ll be ready to go again..
We are not satisfied and won’t be till Saturday night..
Play to Win!
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain