Melbourne Park, 18 December 2012 | Jaclyn Stacey

For the past month Melbourne Park has witnessed the best of Australia’s present and future tennis talent in the annual December Showdown.

With Australian Open Wildcards and national age group championships on the line, the country’s top up-and-coming players have given their all in attempting to achieve their goals during the tournament.

While sportspeople are often notorious for giving typically dry and repetitive answers in post-match interviews, occasionally they can surprise and entertain.

From serious to funny, here are the best quotes from the 2012 December Showdown.


With the men in the Australian Open 2013 Wildcard Play-off contesting best of five set matches for the first time, physical pressures were at a high.

“I’ll just get into a cold shower, into an ice bath or something and recover the body and hopefully I can be right for whoever I’ve got next,” Matt Barton on his recovery plans following a five-setter in the notorious Melbourne heat.

“It’s hard mentally, when you get down two sets to love, to try to motivate yourself to keep going but I felt like if it had been best of three I’d have already lost whereas this was just a chance to keep going so it was almost like a second chance for me, so I tried to use it as a positive rather than a negative.” Matt Reid, on how a change of attitude allowed him to fight back from two sets down in the opening round of the AO Play-off.

“Physically, I don’t think people understand how tough it is to play for five hours. I’m really happy to get away with the win and all the running up and down the mountains has been worth it.” Ben Mitchell following his five-set marathon semifinal win against Barton where he came back from a two-set deficit.

“I think everyone could tell I was very tired, I couldn’t get my legs moving, I wasn’t actually sure if they were going to get moving.” Ben Mitchell managed to beat fatigue to win through to the final of the AO 2013 Play-off.

Many of Australia’s top players have had to come back from adversity to continue playing the game they love and they shared their stories with us.

“Tennis has taught me so much in my life. There’s so many challenges that maybe I wouldn’t have experienced going through schooling without playing sport,” Monique Adamczak on her challenging nine-month recovery from a knee injury in 2010.

“I kind of wanted to try a few different things. I worked in a restaurant doing night shifts, which was brutal. Then I worked in personal training at Fitness First, which I loved,” Jessica Moore on what she was doing during her absence from the sport to assess whether tennis was what she really wanted to do.

“Just to really take their time and really try to work on their games as much as possible, because they have lots of time. Sometimes I think we try to make it too early and we think that if we haven’t made it by 17 we’re not going to make it, that’s how I felt.” Moore’s advice to up-and-coming juniors.


Tennis players know a thing or two about the sacrifices of becoming a professional. From the long hours of training, to homeschooling, and months at a time spent travelling away from family and friends, these up-and-comers give up a lot to achieve their dreams.

“They’re all going out and travelling the world without having to play you know, they see me travelling the world and they think it’s so exciting but they don’t really know the work that we have to do over there. Also the birthday parties when I was younger, so a lot of sacrifices, hopefully it pays off.” Ben Mitchell on the sacrifices of pursuing his tennis career, which includes not being able to spend time with his friends.

“It was the best decision of my career. I’ve finished uni so I really haven’t got any hesitations about putting all into my tennis now and not have to worry about going back and finishing school or worrying about what I’m going to do after tennis, so I’ve already got that set up so it’s good to get that off my back.” John-Patrick Smith when asked whether delaying turning pro by moving to the US to study and play college tennis was a good decision.

“Not really being at home all the time is tough and travelling all the time, not being able to go out with friends and things like that you have to limit because I’m always playing in tournaments and it’s really hard to say to people I can’t do this I’ve got tennis.” Azra Hadzic is no ordinary Melbourne teenager.

“I love Turkey. It’s just so historic there. I’ve been to Gallipoli just to see what that was like and to see where our soldiers were and you know, it’s tough and it was just amazing. I just love Turkey.” Optus 18s champion Abbie Myers is thankful for the experiences playing tennis have given her.


And the quirkier quotes of the tournament …

“I’m playing one of my friends, I’m actually wearing his clothes!” Matt Reid when asked about his AO Play-off final opponent Ben Mitchell.

“I’ve been struggling with blisters for the last few days because I was training with Lleyton and the intensity of his practices are ridiculous. So they’ve worn the skin off my fingers.” Matt Reid when asked why his hands were taped up during his first-round AO Play-off match against Jacob Grills.

“I was born in Australia, I’m an Australian and I was brought up the Aussie way.” Azra Hadzic, daughter of Bosnian born parents, is 100 per cent Australian.


The next crop of Australian stars have proved to be confident and full of wisdom beyond their years.

“It’s everything. Obviously when I’m getting angry out there, outbursts and everything, it’s not because I don’t care, it’s because I think I care a little bit too much. I sort of expect a little bit too much out of myself.” Fiery Nick Kyrgios on what tennis means to him and explaining his emotional outbursts on court.

“I want to live tennis, I want it to be my occupation when I’m older and I want to coach after that. I love it.” Max Purcell following his victory in the 14s event.

“I’m pretty confident for the week. With me being the number one seed of course I’m going to have a little bit of confidence but I can’t be too overconfident and treat everyone worse than me. I’ve still got to try and concentrate and play my best tennis to try and win the tournament.” A confident Bradley Mousley talking up his chances in the Optus 16s event.

“If your attitude drops, your game could drop.” 14-year-old Max Purcell offers some advice to future champions following his victory in the Optus 14s Australian Championships.

“I don’t really like to copy people, I aspire to people but I don’t model my game on them. I think everyone grows up to be their own and that’s what I believe in.” Azra Hadzic is no tennis impersonator.

“It was a really good night. It motivates you seeing such people as Lleyton across the table from you and him doing a speech about his career definitely inspires you to want to do well yourself and maybe get an award one day.” Blake Mott feeling inspired after attending the Newcombe Medal.