Loughborough Tennis Reflect on Australian Open Experience

Students from the Loughborough Tennis program have enjoyed an all expenses trip at the Australian Open this week.

Having won the Chengdu Belt and Road tournament in November the team secured a once in a lifetime trip hosted by Tennis Australia. The team had a packed itinerary seeing the landmarks of Melbourne, tennis workshops and enjoying the atmosphere of the Australian Open, witnessing the tennis greats Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Roger Federer.

The week started with the team darting straight into the Australian experience, witnessing a potentially historical moment on court. In an emotional and potentially final bout by Andy Murray, the team were in the wings watching the Scotsman as he played his heart out.  Prior to the match, the students managed to catch him for a quick good luck and photo. It will be a moment the students will not forget in a hurry.

The following five days maintained the excitement of the first with the team meeting Jamie Murray and sitting in on an exclusive Q & A session with Mark Philipousi. The team were also given a guided tour of the Australian Open grounds and were even allowed a hit on the court. Beyond tennis, the team enjoyed touring Melbourne visiting the MCG, Australian Grand Prix and the many beaches! A visit to  Victoria University saw the team experience virtual reality sports technology before witnessing Loughborough PPS player Vic Allen in the last 16 of the singles. 

Olivia Sofroniou women's first team player commented:

"Being able to go to the 2019 Australian open was a once in a lifetime opportunity and unforgettable! It was amazing to experience another grand slam other than Wimbledon, and be able to watch the top players as well as our role models. One of the highlights was watching Andy Murray is his (potentially) last match, and we were also lucky to meet him. The atmosphere was incredible."

On this phenomenal experience women’s first team player Nadia Rawson said:

“The trip to Australia was one of the best weeks of my life. Having the opportunity to watch some of the best players in the world in an incredible city has really fuelled my motivation to be the best player I can be. I gained valuable experience in interviewing, public speaking and networking and got to do it all in a beautiful and exciting country that I may never have had the chance of visiting. I can’t thank Tennis Australia enough for the most amazing experience”

Adding to this Women’s first team Captain Katie Morris commented:

“Going to Australia gave me an insight into what it takes to reach the highest level of tennis which has inspired me to work harder to reach my own goals as well as gaining valuable experience in interviews and networking with people from around the world. It was definitely one of the best weeks of my life and something I’ll never forget.”

Michael Shaw who represents the men’s first team added:

“Our trip to the Australian Open was incredible. Everyday was maximized so that we truly made the most of such an amazing opportunity. The matches we witnessed, the people we met and the places we visited will live long in the memory and I'm very grateful to everyone that made it so remarkable.”

Finally, reflecting on the trip Tennis Performance Coach Tom Kisiel said:

“The week in Melbourne far and away exceeded all of our expectations. Watching some of the best players in the world at the Australia Open and seeing the sights of Melbourne was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for the team. I am sure this week will act as a catalyst to inspire our players develop their own tennis.

We cannot thank Tennis Australia enough for both the amazing opportunity and also their incredible hospitality throughout the week.”

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