I write my final blog of our Aussie adventure as I wait in the airport for my first of 4 flights where the next 36 hours will be spent thinking of my family at home and the big hugs that await, reflecting, reviewing and developing the next stage of planning, watching a movie or 2, wrestling with the guy next to me for elbow space and hopefully getting some much needed sleep!
My memories from the trip in one paragraph…..and gooo!
Day one straight from the airport to see STA player Valeria Savinykh and STA access player Freddie Nielsen both qualify for their first grand slam, to sharing a tournament car with Tsonga, onto great performances by Josh in round 1 and 2 in the Grade 1 Junior ITF in Traralgon, while dashing back and forth to Melbourne for STA access player Jonny Marray- warming those guys up for their doubles match, talking for hours and learning so much from the guru, Louis Cayer!
Watching ALL the British boys progress through round 1 in the Junior Australian Open in 45 degree heat, the night matches, being able to sit in the players box for our British warrior Andy Murray, getting to know Ivan Lendl and the antics behind the scenes, to standing next to Rod Laver and Liam not knowing who he was…onto his arena to hit with the Greatest Player of all time Roger Federer, Josh advancing to the quarters with performances to be very proud of, the post match interviews, the meals with the boys, the epic Murray-Djokovic semi final under the lights till 1am! And to cap it all off,..Josh and Liam becoming Australian Open Doubles Champions…. And breathe!!
The end of the trip like this is always a weird one, as I am desperate to get back home to the family and see all the guys at the Academy, but tinged with other emotions- a little sadness that the trip is over, as you get used to being around the team and all the excitement that has surrounded the last 2 weeks, but my overriding feeling is pride… I’m very proud of the boys, I have seen first hand for 20 months what a credit Josh is to his parents with his respect and work ethic and I am very proud of how himself and Liam handled the situation, the attention…I am proud of the achievement for SotoTennis Academy. We are only a small team and have not been open for too long, but to see the rewards for those who follow our philosophies over a long space of time is a great feeling.
Anyway, that is enough of the emotional reflection stuff!
Onwards and Upwards into 2012 and lots to look forward too.
We are increasing our travel squad trips and will be at ITF events in Uzbekistan in March and Nottingham in April. For the Under 14s we will be in Nottingham and Magaluf in April. And our pro squad will be spending a few weeks playing Futures in Spain and nearby Portugal.
Our new crop of players are working hard at base camp and hopefully taking inspiration from Josh and Liams success these last couple weeks. Who wants to be the next one to stand up and be counted? I look forward to finding out…
We welcome Matt Thomas and his team who are bringing 16 players for clay court training later this month and Phil Atess and my old club Shotley and Benfieldside who is bringing a group out…
My flight has been called so its ‘See ya’ Australia and ‘Hola’ España (in 30 hours!)
As my Dad would say onwards and upwards!
Play to win, and remember… You speak to yourself more than anyone else, SO make sure you are saying the RIGHT things.
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain