Melbourne, Australia, 6 April 2023 |

Storm Hunter started playing tennis as a six-year-old in the Queensland city of Rockhampton.

“I have very fond memories of my first experiences there,” the 28-year-old related. “My parents never played tennis, but they enrolled me in local lessons and I’ve loved the game since.”

Hunter credits her childhood coach, Robert Beak, for fostering her love of tennis.

“I give all credit to Robert, because he made me enjoy it,” she said. “I still have a relationship with him, I still text and call him. It’s really cool to have that connection.”

From grassroots to Grand Slams, Hunter is now starring on the world stage.

She won the US Open 2022 mixed doubles title with John Peers and shortly after peaked at a career-high world No.8 in doubles.

Hunter, who has also proudly represented Australia in the Billie Jean King Cup and at the Olympic Games, shares an insight into her training routines and experiences in our Training Tips series …

Do you have a preferred time of the day to practice?

I’m definitely an early bird. I’m usually up pretty early. My husband always sets the alarm for 6am, so I kind of have no choice. I love an early practice and I love my coffee, so it’s great to go and get a coffee before hitting the court.

Do you like to follow a set practice routine?

I’m someone who kind of goes by feel. It can depend on what are we trying to get out of a session, how my body is feeling and if I have a match coming up. In practice we try to push a little bit more. Even if I’m not feeling so good, we’ll try to do more hours on the court. But during a tournament, it is a bit more on feel and trying to get ready for a match. That could be two hours or 30 minutes, whatever makes me feel good.

What is your favourite part of practice?

That’s a tough question. I love it when we play games and mix it up a little bit. Before we get out on court, we play a lot of spike ball or have an AFL footy that we kick around.

What is your least favourite part of practice?

I feel like if we keep everything the same, then I can get a little bit bored. But at the same time, you need to do the same thing over and over again to be happy to be able to do that in a match.

Do you remember the first professional player you had the chance to hit with?

It would have been Sam Stosur. It might have been at an Australian Open or at the Fed Cup (now Billie Jean King Cup), when I got called up as orange girl. I’d been playing a few junior events and had started doing well at a few ITF events when I got called up as orange girl. Sam is someone who I’ve always tried to practice with, she’s awesome.

Do any of your practice sessions stand out as the most memorable?

When Ash (Barty) was playing, we’d always try to hit at different tournaments and she’d always get the best courts. So, I’d be really nervous to go and hit on the centre courts, such as Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, or at Toronto or Cincinnati, where we would play on the biggest courts. That was a little bit nerve-racking as I don’t really get that many experiences on those courts.

Are there any former players who would love to train alongside?

I once had an experience with (Roger) Federer at the Australian Open. He was warming up for a match and I was in the quiet room getting ready for my match too. Him and his coach were throwing the ball around and he accidentally hit me in the head. It was really, really embarrassing. But Fed came over and said ‘sorry about that, I hope you’re okay’ and wished me good luck. I wish I could have guilt-tripped him into joining me on court sometime. That would have been a good excuse to have a really cool experience.

Lleyton (Hewitt) as well. He’s been such an amazing inspiration, especially playing for Australia. It would have been cool to play in something like Hopman Cup or United Cup with him representing Australia.

What is the best life lesson you’ve learned from playing tennis?

The biggest thing is if you have a goal or a dream and things aren’t going your way, just keep believing and never give up. I’ve had a lot of injuries and so many times where I’ve questioned is this for me? Can I do this? And I’ve just had to take it day-by-day. Sometimes when things aren’t going your way and there is nothing you can do, it is out of your control. That’s when you need to really believe in yourself. If it’s something you really want to do, don’t stop trying.

Read more in our Training Tips series:
> Alex Bolt
> Lizette Cabrera
> Jaimee Fourlis
> Priscilla Hon
> Maddison Inglis
> Jason Kubler
> John Peers
> Max Purcell
> Luke Saville
> Astra Sharma
> John-Patrick Smith
> Aleksandar Vukic

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