Melbourne, Australia, 12 November 2021 | Leigh Rogers

Alex Bolt’s perseverance continues to be rewarded. The 28-year-old scored five top-100 wins during a career-best 2021, including opening-round victories at both at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

The left-handed Bolt also claimed the biggest singles title of his career at an ATP Challenger at Nottingham in June. Currently ranked No.136, the South Australian is now set to record his highest-ever year-end ranking.

Bolt’s results are even more remarkable considering he briefly retired at age 23, having lost his passion for competing.

As Bolt shares in our Serving inspiration series, finding enjoyment again encouraged him to return and continues to prove the key to his success …

You grew up in country South Australia. What are your earliest tennis memories?

I grew up playing on the grass courts at Murray Bridge. I remember being about six or seven and no one would let me into the junior teams. It might have been because I was too young, but I just wanted to start playing. I would play in the mornings on weekends and then my parents would play in the afternoons. I’d spend my whole day at the tennis courts and absolutely loved it. I never wanted to go home.

Who have been the biggest inspirations in your career?

I watched a lot of Lleyton Hewitt growing up. It was around the time when he was No.1 in the world and he was winning a lot of tournaments. I met him one day in Adelaide when he was training. I’m not sure exactly when it was, it might have been before a Davis Cup tie. But it was pretty cool to be next to the No.1 in the world and that really gave me motivation to become a tennis player.

What do you remember from your first meeting with Hewitt? Did you get his autograph?

I don’t even think I got an autograph, I was too scared to ask. I just sat on the court next to him and watched him train.

Can you recall the first professional match you watched live?

I actually don’t know. I didn’t go to a lot of matches or professional tournaments when I was younger. I just watched them all on television. It might have been in Adelaide in 2007. Chris Guccione played Novak Djokovic in a final there and I do remember watching that match.

As a professional athlete you now have the chance to inspire others, what do you hope others learn from watching you?

I feel like I’m a pretty respectful player out on court. I always try hard and give it my best. My attitude is not to die wondering.

What advice would you share with a young player wanting to follow in your footsteps?

The biggest thing is to enjoy yourself out on court. I’ve gone through some ups and downs in my career and for me, the biggest take home was finding a way to enjoy myself. That’s extended my career and made me love tennis even more as I’ve grown older.

Read more in our Serving Inspiration series:
> Lizette Cabrera
> James Duckworth
> Jaimee Fourlis
> Storm Sanders
> Luke Saville
> Astra Sharma
> Ben Weekes