Australian Open 2018
After spending Christmas with family, I flew to Hobart on New Years eve to prepare for the 2018 Australian Open. After landing in Hobart, I headed straight to the club for a 2 hour practice with Rob Fahey.
An ariel view of Point Nepean I took from my window seat on the way to Hobart.
On New Years Day I had my first match against one of Australia's best amateurs Al Ramsay. I wanted to put in strong display so that would give be good confidence on a tricky Hobart court. I was pretty happy with how I played and I won the match 6/1 6/0 6/0.
My next match would be the QF against the young & talented Zak Eadle who had recently just moved to Hobart. I was not going to take this match lightly as I did not want to give him too much belief or confidence because then the could become a tricky. I played the first 2 and half sets well. I though I had the match wrapped up at 6/0 6/1 5/1 40/30. This was a mistake as Zak made a great comeback and I struggled to regain my form. I managed to close out the match 6/4 but I knew I could no afford any lapses in concentration when I took on world no 4 Chris Chapman in the SF.
in the downtime I managed to go see a t20 Big bash match thanks to some tickets from one of my brothers teammates Jofra Archer who was playing for Hobart
The cricket ground in Hobart is called Bellerive Oval and it is one of the most picturesque grounds in the world.
I bumped into Jofra Archer at a bar in Hobart after the tournament dinner so it was nice to thank him in person for giving me 4 tickets to the match. Jofra is tipped to be an England star and bowls the ball over 90mph!
My match against Chris Chapman was on Friday at 5pm. I spent the day relaxing and mentally preparing for one the biggest matches of my career, knowing a victory would put me in my first open final.
I started off the match really well and I before I knew it I had taken the first 2 sets 6/2 6/2. I wasn't missing much and I was playing aggressively when ever I had loose ball. I knew I need to start of the 3rd set well to keep the momentum with me. I went 2/1 up with a game point to go 3/1 up. I did not convert and the shift in momentum started to swing in Chris' favour. I started thinking negatively and I was berating myself for not being more clinical. This poor from me as a world class player like Chris will seized any opportunity you present to him. Before I knew it the 3rd and 4th set were gone. My level of played from the first 2 sets had dropped and I tried to force the issue too much rather than staying calm and controlled. Also Chris had picked his game up and was playing very well himself too
I went 5/2 down in the 3rd set. I remember saying to myself I have not played badly in this set and not to give up. There was still a chance I could find a way back in to the match. Sure enough, I tied the match at 5 all. I went 30/15 up in the last game but a couple bad shots and the match was over. 6/2 6/2 3/6 2/6 5/6 It was gutting to be so close to an open final but at the same time I will use this as a learning curve. Next time I am 2 sets to love up I will be much more focused and making sure I kill the match off and not let my opponent back in to the match. The positive is I know I have a game that can beat the very best players after all chappy had no answers for for the way I played in the first 2 sets. He said to me after I was just too good in those sets. I just need to be more consistent and the big wins will come.
In the doubles I got to play with Rob Fahey. We have been a team now for nearly a year and it has been so much fun to partner up with the greatest player of all time.
We reached the final with out dropping a set and I felt confident if we played well then we would be Australian Open doubles champions. It would not be easy as we were up against world no 4 Chris and world no 8 Kieran Booth who both have won open doubles titles.
The match was Monday at 6pm and a large crowd had come in to watch which made playing the final that much more exhilarating
The standard of doubles for this match was quality. Chris & Kieran really took it to Rob & I. The first set was 6/1 to us but it felt much closer. The second set went our way too 6/3. This was another quality set with all players really pummelling the ball .
The 3rd set became much closer than it should. We were in control for almost all the set. We were 5/2 up and were both playing well butt to Chris & Kieran's credit they fought back and were so close to taking the 3rd set by having 2 sets points. It was 5/5 40/15 to Chris and Kieran when Rob pulled off a beautiful cut volley to force a racket error off Kieran and then followed it up with quite an unbelievable volley main wall force in to the dedan. On our first match point Rob hit is his classic main wall volley and we won the match and my fist open title!
6/1 6/3 6/5
It was great feeling not only to win with the great Rob Fahey but my mum had flown in from Melbourne to watch me play so it was really special. Tasting success makes you so hungry to win more. I can't wait to get back, train and give the US open a real go when I head to Boston in a couple weeks time.