Brisbane, Australia, 30 December 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Chris O’Connell is determined to break into the world’s top 50 in 2024.

The 29-year-old came close to achieving that milestone in 2023. During a career-best season, he advanced to six ATP-level quarterfinals, progressed to the third round at Wimbledon and tallied six top-50 wins.

“I was pretty happy with how my season panned out. I got to a new career-high at No.53,” O’Connell told

“I was a little bit disappointed, because I thought I could have cracked the top 50. I had a few opportunities to do that, but that’s a goal now for the next year.”

Currently ranked world No.68, O’Connell begins his 2024 season at the Brisbane International where he faces a tough first-round assignment against world No.40 Alexei Popyrin.

> READ: Aussies handed brutal draws at Brisbane International 2024

O’Connell enters today’s match against his fellow Australian at Pat Rafter Arena feeling refreshed after an almost two-month stint in Sydney.

“I got to hang out with a few friends on the Northern Beaches, where I’m from,” he said of his off-season exploits.

“But I pretty much got into training straight away, I didn’t have too much time off. I don’t really like having too much time away from tennis, so I just got straight back into it. Gym, running, training.”

Any time in Australia is a rare luxury for O’Connell, who is based in the Croatian city of Split throughout the season.

“I’ve got a physical trainer over there and I’m getting coached by Marinko Matosevic who has a few ties in Croatia,” O’Connell explained.

“It’s just a good base to be in Europe because it’s close to everything.”

O’Connell began working with the 38-year-old Matosevic, a former Australian player who achieved a career-high ranking of No.39, in 2021.

He said their contrasting personalities has been a key to a fruitful partnership.

“He’s a bit more out there than me and I’m a lot more quieter and reserved,” O’Connell noted. “But we’ve been doing well together.”

While many of O’Connell’s Australian peers try to avoid long stints abroad, he has learned to embrace the lifestyle.

“I love tennis and travelling at the same time, so it’s pretty cool,” he said.

“I’m gone the whole year, from February through to November. As I’ve gotten older, it’s gotten easier. I used to miss home a lot more when I was younger, but I’m sort of used to it now.

“When I leave after the Australian Open, I know I’m not coming back until November.”

Following multiple injury setbacks earlier in his career, O’Connell is proud to have established himself among the world’s top 100.

He is now hoping to stamp his presence more at Grand Slam and ATP Masters 1000 level in 2024.

“This year I didn’t do so well at the Masters events, so I’d like to do well in those events and continue to progress up the rankings,” he said.

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