Australian Open Champions! Sounds good ay?!
I am so happy for the boys and am still buzzing from the excitement of the day, the week, the trip…
Today started well – we had a chilled morning, the boys were not playing till 6.30 pm, so we took it easy, went into town and saw a couple sights with a relaxed lunch at Wagamama’s, I could get used to this. I could tell the boys were ‘on it’ all day and felt very confident for their final later. I had to put a bit of a rocket up their bums after the semi as I felt they came out flat; it is always easier to give these talks after they win and is a good time to catch your players and drill home key learning points – the boys were in agreement with me and reacted like Champions.
We went down to the courts on what was another belter of a day in Melbourne and we were all so into practice that the session was almost 2 hours – we hit loads of balls and played points with Luke Bambridge and myself against Liam and Josh (I won’t disclose the winners – I’ll let the boys have their moment!) and the boys were looking sharp. This is what it’s like being a top player in the world I told them and I am sure it has wetted their appetite for more.
The match before was taking forever in the 1st set then all of a sudden it was set and 4-0 this is one of the things that makes it so difficult as a tennis player, as on the previous day the match before the boys was 6-0 4-0 to one player and 40-30, so we got ready to go then all of a sudden the other player won the set 6-4 and the boys went on over an hour after they had now prepared for…If you are a footballer, you always know your kick off time, as do golfers and pretty much every other sport!
From the first point of the match there was no doubt in my mind that it was the boys’ Championship – they looked hungrier, sharper, more experienced, more tactically apt than their opponents and nothing was going to stop them becoming the first British Grand Slam winners in an overseas Grand Slam (doubles) since 2000, when 2 good friends of mine James Nelson and Lee Childs won the US Open!
Forty five minutes later here we were at match point- another big serve from Liam and a physical presence at the net that only JWH can have and the ball sails long…Game set match and Champions Ward Hibbert and Broady! Brilliant boys! My mind shifts back home to my wife Vicki and the kids and all the sacrifices we have put in as a team (Nick, Nathan, Dominic, Vicki) in setting up the Academy 20 months ago and here we are with our first Grand Slam winners – a small tear comes to the eyes and goose bumps over the body, this is one to savour and it could not happen to two nicer guys!
Photos, interviews, massages and more food intake is all becoming part of the daily routine for the boys and today was no different…they have taken it all in their stride, but I can sense an excitement in the boys that was great to be a part of.
We head off to Rod Laver to cheer on the next British participant in Australia, Andy Murray…What a privilege to be a part of that match at such close quarters – WOW! Is all I can say to the drama, the athleticism, heart and level of tennis I never thought I would see. Truly impressive and inspirational for the boys as well as myself.
I promised the boys I would take them for a beer, as it was Josh’s 18th last week and Liam the week before, but by the time we got into town all the pubs had shut, so we had to settle for an orange Fanta in McDonalds and sharing stories from the day. The boys won’t have realised it, but that was one of my favourite parts of the trip!
Back to Spain on Sunday, I’m dying to see the family and all the team/players at base camp. I will always look back at the Australian Open 2012 with nothing but smiles and laughter, and I hope we look back at it as the beginning of a new chapter for SotoTennis Academy.
Play to Win!
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain