Home Articles It’s Aussie Open Time!

It’s Aussie Open Time!

Outline of Australia transposed onto tennis net

Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi! The New Year means new opportunities for the pro tennis player – the thousands of men and women climbing the same mountain to be among the very best tennis players in the world.

That steep climb every year begins with a mind and body reset around November. Though some players are successful enough to take their yearlong performance to the tour championships and even the Davis/Fed Cup Finals, even these elite performers have the same decision to make: How to set up the mission-critical, off-season training that catapults a player into the New Year.

That means prepping for the first major of the year, the Australian Open. The first thing you need to know is that the Southern Hemisphere is in the middle of summer. The hot conditions mean training is more physical than mental. The cross-training between the on- and off-court make the difference in the transition from the cold months in the States to playing in the scorching heat of the Aussie summer tennis season.

During my playing career, the off-season gave me time to work on areas of my game that let me down over the previous season. That meant specific technique, strategy and repetitive training in the mornings followed by three sets of match play in the afternoon. Through the years, I would tweak my training going into the Aussie Open warm-up events, but the basic outline worked for my brother and sisters looking to start the year out winning!

The Aussie Open is just as exciting for the tennis fan. Back in the 90’s, ESPN tennis analyst legend Cliff Drysdale called the Aussie the “Happy Slam” and the name stuck. If you ever have the chance to be part of this great event, you will know right away why there is such a wonderful, happy vibe. The Aussie culture is built around family, sport and everything outdoors. Tennis also is a huge part of the Aussie way of life. Legends such as Laver, Court, Emerson and so many others have shaped the tennis landscape there, as well as around the world.

The Australian Open also is one of the most modern slams. It was the first major to add retractable roof stadiums and the event continues to grow. It is now the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific. This mindset of including other nearby regions has been a game-changer to promote tennis throughout that part of the world.

If you are looking for a tournament that puts the fan first, the Aussie is perfect for you. The venue is walking distance from all of the major hotels in downtown Melbourne, and the food is aces. I walked to and from the tournament site every day as a player. The 2019 Open will be a special occasion for organizers. Rod Laver won his second calendar-year grand slam 50 years ago in 1969. I know the Aussies are going to celebrate this accomplishment in a big way.

Enjoy the 2019 Aussie Open. Even if you won’t be there, the 100-plus hours of TV coverage will keep you locked into the first major of the year. Until next month, I will see you on the tennis courts!

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