Las Vegas, 4 May 2011 | Naiktha Bains

My trip to Las Vegas started at Brisbane airport on Easter Sunday. We then arrived in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon (because of the time difference) and met Darren Cahill at the airport, who kindly drove us to Red Rock hotel, casino and spa.

The hotel was huge and really nice. It had about ten small swimming pools surrounding one massive one! It also had a casino filled with LOTS of gambling machines and tables, (which I obviously wouldn’t have gone anywhere near!) There were also plenty of restaurants to enjoy each night.

We had a little rest that day before a light hit with Darren at a nice private tennis club close to the hotel. For the rest of the week we trained at the USTA stadium on centre court. It was a big complex with lots of courts. As it was our very first day we just eased into it with a light hit but no gym.

The conditions were very different and needed some getting used to. It was very dry and windy and was quite hard at first; the balls were flying everywhere as it tends to fly a lot more in Vegas due to the desert-like conditions and altitude.

After a good sleep we had a better hit the next day and also had my first gym session with Gil Reyes. In the gym too, we eased into it but soon enough we were at it pulling faces and pumping up the weights!

Expert trainer Gil Reyes (left) with Australian junior Naiktha Bains. TENNIS AUSTRALIA

Darren is great friends with Steffi Graf and had arranged for her to come out one morning and hit with me. It was a very windy morning, which made it more of a challenge! This was a real treat and a great experience. Sadly about an hour into it she pulled her calf and couldn’t continue but to have an hour with Steffi was an honour.

Hitting with Darren was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. After each session we went to lunch. Our favourite place was called Baja Fresh, which was a nice Mexican grill. After lunch each day we went back to the hotel to put our feet up and relax for as long as possible before we had to get ready for the gym.

Training with Gil in the gym was awesome and I loved it! Gil was a great mentor and very encouraging, he always said the right things and it was amazing to meet such a great guy.

Overall I had a fantastic time with the Adidas Player Development program and it was great to meet such brilliant people. I learnt lots of new things and hopefully I will have this opportunity again.

I’m home for two days and then off to Kuching for the ITF World Junior Teams Asia–Oceania qualifying event. I meet Scott and the rest of the team at the airport and we fly to Malaysia for a few training days before we try to qualify for the finals in Europe.

I’m very proud and excited to be representing Australia again.

Naiktha Bains

Naiktha Bains (right) with Australian coach Darren Cahill. TENNIS AUSTRALIA