Australian tennis legend Rod Laver believes that the demands of tennis on Australia’s up-and-coming stars should be used to their advantage.
Speaking at the Australian Open during a break from signing autographs for excited juniors, the 80 year old (ranked World Number 1 from 1964-1970 and winner of 11 Grand Slam titles) holds great hope for the prodigies of Australian tennis.
“There are some good young [Australian] players coming through,” Laver observed.
Laver also touched on 23-year-old Australian player Nick Kyrgios, reflecting on the young player’s obvious talent but apparent lack of focus.
“Kyrgios just has to concentrate for a whole match. He plays some brilliant tennis then he limps off. I don’t know if he’s thinking of other things and next thing, his concentration is gone.”
Meanwhile with the other Australian prospects, Laver identifies that there are massive expectations when playing on home soil.
“Pressure is pressure,” he said.
“You’ve got to learn to accept the pressure and in many ways, enjoy it.”
On top of individual demands, Laver purported that the game of tennis is becoming a ‘team sport’ and that it is vital to have a strong coaching and support network.
“Now it has become that way. Players could do better with different coaches or different managers.”
But Laver knows that the root of a strong player comes from within and noted that the young Australia players need to work hard all year round to reach their goals.
“You’ve got to put in a full effort and train,” said Laver.
“The concentration level is what makes a champion.”
And if Laver is right, Australian tennis is in good hands.
You can follow all of the Australian Open action on www.ausopen.com and keep up with your favourite Australian stars on 3AW Radio 693, or follow it on Channel Nine until January 27th