Paris, 6 May 2011 | Mark Edney

Mark Edney, Tennis Australia’s Camps and Tours Coordinator, has headed to Europe for the first of his 18 weeks on the road. During this time he will coach, and manage travel, training and tournament details for more than 42 of Australia’s top young players from the National Academies and AIS program, while juggling the logistics for up to five tours in different locations during the same week.


After a long journey from Australia our 1998 c laycourt tour finally arrived in Paris, France. Jarrad Bunt, Max Purcell, Scott Jones and Maddison Inglis departed Sydney while Anthony Richardson, Oliver Anderson, Kimberley Birrell, Sara Tomic and Priscilla Hon departed Brisbane and the teams met up in Bangkok.

Their arrival was slightly delayed as the team experienced their first peak hour in Paris. A little weary the team hopped out of the vans in their green and gold Australia tracksuits ready to check in. The hotel is small and quiet but the advantage is that it is only a 10 to 15 minute walk to Roland Garros.

Once the team showered and freshened up we headed down to the Monoprix (supermarket) to collect fruit bars, snacks, fruit and sports drinks for our on court training. Some of the players learned the lesson quickly that the more you buy the more you have to carry back to the hotel!

Australian juniors get used to their new surroundings after a trip to the local supermarket. TENNIS AUSTRALIA

We stopped for a quick bite at Subway before heading to Roland Garros.

We have been very fortunate over the past four years to have access to Roland Garros and the French Federation has been very supportive of our young players. They will spend the week working with Gail Benedetti (a former Australian champion) and train on the prestigious clay courts at Roland Garros. The facility is currently under construction as the event is only two weeks away. The only players on site are the French National athletes and our 13-year-old Australians.

We spent three hours on court Monday to get out in the fresh air and battle through some stiffness and jetlag. Getting used to being in a different place and adapting to the courts and balls are all necessary life skills of a tennis player. Today’s focus was to educate them about claycourt movements, getting their bodies in the right position to execute the ball and to keep control of the ball. Once you have control of the ball you can do anything with it!

Once arriving back at the hotel this became the testing time! We have two hours to clean up before dinner and the players had to flight back the urges to fall asleep. Dinner was quick at a local pizza, pasta and salad restaurant before a short walk back to the hotel and a good night’s sleep!