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Australian Open Tour 2015

Tuesday 13th January the Riverview Team arrived in Melbourne from their various holiday destinations for the annual Australian Open Tennis Tour.

First stop for the morning was the Craigieburn Tennis Centre which is a brand new $8 million state of the art facility boasting 24 courts. The surface of the courts is identical to that at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open and we were lucky enough to be the first ones to use the new courts. The boys played some practice sets in tough windy conditions which was great preparation for the rest of the season.

Following our practice session at Craigieburn we checked into the hotel and had a late Lunch. That afternoon we went for a run around the Melbourne Museum and trained at Carlton Gardens Tennis Club. After some drilling and a few sets we went back to the hotel for dinner and bed.

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 14th January 6am we had planned to train but the rain gave the boys a bit of a sleep in, fortunately we managed to get going a bit later at 7.30am. After a couple of hours training which included fitness, drilling and sets the boys jogged back to the hotel for a stretch, spa and shower before breakfast. Once we had recovered we headed off to Melbourne Park to watch some of the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open. After dinner back at the hotel we were back at Melbourne Park on the new Margaret Court Arena for Fast 4 Tennis. The tennis was great with Rafael Nadal featuring against a formidable trio of Mark Philippoussis, the reigning US Open Junior champion Omar Jasika as well as a best of five sets encounter against former world No.7 Fernando Verdasco. Everyone really enjoyed the night and learnt all the rules of the new format which they were to demonstrate at the Melbourne Park indoor facility 2 days later.

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15th January training began at 6.30am at Carlton Gardens, we finished off the practice session by trying out the Fast 4 format in a few sets which was a lot of fun. Back at the Hotel the boys were booked in for a Yoga Class and when the instructor didn’t turn up I ended up taking the class for the boys and some other patrons of the hotel. The boys did well not to laugh too much at me, somehow I don’t think being a yoga instructor is for me so I think I’ll stick to tennis coaching for the time being. Following a shower and breakfast we headed back to Melbourne Park to watch more qualifying action where we got to see two Aussies in Omar Jasika and JP Smith battle it out.

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16th January we arrived at Melbourne Park early to practice on the indoor courts ready to demonstrate Fast 4 Tennis in for a crowd of many people. The boys handled themselves well and were a credit to themselves and the school. Following the Fast4 demonstration we were back to watch more of the qualifying rounds and to continue supporting some of the players they had seen win earlier rounds like Omar and Mendez. It was a great experience watching these exciting new players coming through the ranks as well as take full advantage of our access passes to watch some of the top players train such as Djokovic, Federer, Hewitt & Bouchard to name just a few.

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17th January the boys had the privilege of practicing on the courts that the players train on and were then were presented with their Kids Day Coach shirts ready to participate in the Australian Open Kids Tennis Day. The Kids Day was a huge hit with over 25, 000 people attending, we saw as many as 400 kids go through our court alone. The boys had the opportunity to play tennis with some youngsters for their very first time. There were many star attractions on the day including Australian pop band and ARIA chart toppers Justice Crew as well as some of the world’s top tennis players including World No.2 Roger Federer, Ana Ivanovic, Eugenie Bouchard and Aussie superstar Nick Kyrgios. After the Kids Day we had tickets to Centre Court to see all the action. After a big day we returned to the Hotel for dinner and a rest while Richard and Nima took the opportunity to hit on the practice courts using their coach passes alongside David Ferrer.

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The following day the boys enjoyed a bit of a sleep in and rest before we hit the Melbourne Park Clay Centre for a training session. We were also fortunate enough to sit in on a presentation by Roger Rasheed who is the current coach of world number 11 Grigor Dimitrov. Afterwards the boys undertook a footwork training session on the oval where the Melbourne Demons AFL team trains. The afternoon saw the boys return to the clay courts for some practice matches where they were fortunate enough to compete against one of the players who will be competing in the boys draw at the Australian Open. What a great experience to play against someone of that calibre. Then off we went to watch more tennis. The boys were excited to watch Smyczek going head-to-head with Rafael Nadal after cheering him on through qualifying where at one point he was on the brink of losing. Nadal would usually be the crowd favourite amongst the boys but on this occasion he took second place to their new charge who was playing amazing tennis to be up 2 sets to 1 against the more experienced Nadal. An exciting match for the boys and it was great to see the sportsmanship shown by Smyczek at a crucial moment in the match when the crowd interrupted Nadal’s serve.

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19th January the following day we played Scotch College. The boys were pumped and won all of their doubles matches except for one and took out 6 of the 8 singles rubbers, great result well done. A good win then we watched the Bryan Brothers and Jamie Murray do their doubles training at the Aussie Open practice courts at Scotch College. A great experience then off to watch the Main Draw of the Open.

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20th January we played Camberwell Grammar where we stepped up and won every match with a polished performance. The boys stretched on the beautiful grounds of the college and celebrated winning the last match of the trip.

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Last day the boys were up early and we were organised and packed ready to go, we headed off to Melbourne Park for our last day at the Aussie Open. Former SC Coaching student and touring professional Monique Adamczak was teaming up with Olivia Ragowska in the ladies doubles so we had a keen eye watching their match and cheering them on. After some more exciting matches it was into a taxi and off to the airport for our flight home. Some of the boys met up with their parents and stayed on for some more tennis but for the rest of us we were homeward bound eager and ready to train for the season ahead.

Thanks to everyone involved for a fantastic trip with many outstanding performances, memories and lessons.

Simon

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