Melbourne, Australia, 19 July 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Mason Cox is an Australian Football League star.

The towering 211-centimetre ruckman and forward, who was born in America, has played more than 100 games and kicked over 100 goals for Collingwood.

Cox is a popular media personality too and hosts his own podcast, The Mason Cox Show.

In our Celebrity Match series, Cox shares his favourite Australian Open memories and explains why he enjoys playing tennis …

Tell us about your tennis experience. Have you played before?

Never at a high level growing up, but I always played with my family. We had a tennis court behind our house where we used to play. My older brother has actually finally surpassed me and my ability to play tennis, so he continually reminds of that when we play our yearly tennis match. Tennis is the only sport he can beat me at, so that’s the one thing he’s hanging his hat on still to this day.

What is your best shot and why?

My serve. I’m freakishly tall, so I get a good angle over the net and can get pretty good leverage onto the ball too. It’s an ace or nothing sometimes from me.

What are your earliest tennis memories?

Growing up we had a tennis court behind our house. We used to go down there, even though it was a bit sketchy and probably illegal, and climb the fence late at night. It was probably five-metres high, but we’d climb over, turn on the lights and play for hours on end until mum would give us a call and tell us we needed to come back home. We never had a key or booked the court, but we always managed to find a way to play tennis whenever we wanted to. A lot of tennis balls went missing over that fence!

Do you have a favourite tennis memory?

I was at the Australian Open in 2020 and watched the semifinal between Ash Barty and Sofia Kenin with my brother. This was before I had my Australian citizenship and I think we were the only people in the crowd who were American and cheering on Kenin. It was quite funny and awkward at times, but there was great banter between everyone who was there. Everyone got into it and it was absolutely hilarious. Luckily the American pipped the Australian. Although, I’m also a big Ash Barty fan.

Do you remember the first professional match you saw live?

It was a doubles match back in 2017. It was Bradley Mousley and Alex Bolt playing Sam Querrey and Donald Young. It was another Australia versus USA match. There was a guy there going for the Americans who was wearing a mullet, an American flag tank top and a cowboy hat. It was ridiculous and this was my first time experiencing the Australian Open. It was an awesome match too, which the Aussies won.

Who is your favourite tennis player to watch?

Rafael Nadal. Rafa is so unreal. Seeing him play in person, his precision and passion is just unlike anyone else. He’s just amazing and has been an absolute legend for a long time. Whenever you see the world’s best players live, it is just phenomenal. It’s so cool to see in person.

If you could meet any tennis player, who would it be and why?

Serena Williams. What she’s done for women’s tennis is insane. Her career has been amazing and beyond words. Not only from a tennis perspective, but in women’s sports in general. She’s been such a role model and icon for women’s sports and changed it for the better for others coming through the system now. The way she represented tennis worldwide was pretty phenomenal, so she’d be awesome to meet.

Mason Cox at the world premiere of Netflix’s Break Point series at Australian Open 2023. Picture: Tennis Australia

Finally, can you please finish these sentences for us …

The best part of the Australian Open is … the atmosphere! It’s the biggest event in Melbourne, which is pretty cool. Every day there seems like there is something new going on. There’s entertainment, good vibes, people are always enjoying themselves whether they’re watching in the stadiums or watching on the big screens outside. It’s just a great, great experience for all. It’s an event I love going to every single year. I highly recommend that everyone, if they can, should go along.

Tennis is fun because … no matter where you come from, physical stature or anything else, you can play and enjoy it. There’s no real barrier to entry with tennis. It’s pretty cool, all you need is a racquet and a ball and you can play anywhere. You can play against a wall or on a proper court. I think it’s one of those sports that no matter your ability, you can still enjoy actually playing it. You can be the worst of the worst and still have a good time.

> Read more interviews from our Celebrity Match series

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