Rae gunning for further senior success
Eight months on from being honoured at the Newcombe Medal Australian Tennis Awards, ITF senior tennis star Andrew Rae has continued on his merry way.
Eight months on from being honoured for his senior tennis achievements at the Newcombe Medal Australian Tennis Awards, Andrew Rae has continued on his merry way.
Success has come thick and fast in 2013 for the 61-year-old from Mount Eliza, Victoria, who has scooped Grade 1 ITF titles in Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Austria and Spain and currently ranks world No.1 in the ITF division for over-60 players.
Rae was presented with the Most Outstanding 35+ Senior award at the glittering Newcombe Medal ceremony in Melbourne in December 2012, and said that this was recognition he cherished.
“This was the second time I’d won it, I also won the award in the inaugural year … It’s very nice as you get older to be recognised and acknowledged in that forum along with the open tennis, juniors and administration awards,” he said.
“I thank Tennis Australia for taking on seniors and grouping us under the umbrella of Australian tennis.”
Seniors tennis is hardly the hit-and-giggle that people may assume it to be; it’s an internationally-recognised and contested competition with a great deal of prestige attached.
Rae takes it extremely seriously. He hits regularly at a mixture of venues, including at Melbourne Park, at Kooyong where he is a member, and on his backyard court in Mount Eliza. He also trains daily, combining some running with regular yoga and pilates classes.
And he plans to soon sell up his business and retire in order to spend more time in Europe, which would open up a wealth of playing opportunities at tournaments; he current plays just 12 to 14 events per year.
“Because I hold the No.1 ranking I do get a lot of [tournament] hospitality invites and small expenses covered in Europe,” he explained.
“There’s [also] a very good seniors league in Germany. Lots of former Australian pros have played it … Senior club tennis in Germany is professional and starts at 35-plus with many age categories [upwards from there]. I’ve played this [on and off] for 15 years.”
All of these competitive opportunities keep Rae match-fit and grooved, ideal for peaking at the biggest tournaments in the seniors game. Chief among them is the World Individual Championships, with a 128-player draw and carrying the most ranking points and prestige.
Rae is the defending champion in the “super seniors” 60+ category, and will head to Pörtschach, Austria for the event on 9-22 September aiming to maintain his hold on top spot.
“If you win this, and a few other events, you’re guaranteed to hold the No.1 ranking,” he said.
“I only [generally] play Grade 1 events [outside of this] because they carry the most ranking points … It’s always nice to have won the World Championships the year before because it makes maintaining your No.1 ranking easier the following season.”
Rae won the Most Outstanding 35+ Tennis Senior Victorian Tennis award at the Tennis Victoria championships dinner in late June, and having also won his past six tournaments and built a 28-match winning streak, it would be hard to go past him as the favourite for the senior game’s ultimate honours at international level.
Could such success lead to another appearance at, and possibly an award, at the upcoming Newcombe Medal Australian Tennis Awards this December?
“I hope so,” Rae laughed.