Finn Broadbent excited to make Australian Open debut
Melburnian Finn Broadbent is a wildcard entry in the Australian Open 2024 quad wheelchair competition.
Finn Broadbent has many fond Australian Open memories. From watching courtside as his mentors Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson claimed doubles titles, to witnessing his all-time favourite Roger Federer in action.
The 22-year-old is now set to experience the tournament as a competitor for the first time, after being awarded a wildcard into the quad wheelchair competition this summer.
“Getting the wildcard was sort of a shock at first, but once it sunk in, it was really cool,” Broadbent told tennis.com.au.
“It’s kind of a reward for all the hard work over the years.”
Broadbent, a former top-10 junior, lives in Melbourne and trains regularly at Melbourne Park.
“I’m feeling pretty good to be honest,” he said ahead of his making his tournament debut.
“It’s pretty familiar. I’ve come here for many years as a spectator, and I hit at these courts four or five times a week.
“I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t played in front of many crowds before, so I could get a bit nervous, but I’m really excited.”
The talented athlete hopes to draw on his experience representing Hawthorn in the Victorian Wheelchair Football League to handle any extra nerves.
“Last year was my first full season and I really enjoyed that. There’s a lot of contact and I love the competitiveness as well,” he said about playing wheelchair football.
“I’ll be able to lean on a couple of those matches last year in terms of experience in front of crowds, which is nice.”
Broadbent, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business at Deakin University last year, plans to make tennis his full-time focus in 2024.
It follows his recent classification in the quad wheelchair division.
“I’d never actually been classified and I was struggling a bit in the open because they are all just so strong,” he said.
“I wasn’t really going to make it that category, but now I’m really enjoying the competition.
“Getting classified in the quads four or five months ago was when I put the foot down and really trained hard.
“It’s a Paralympic year, so there are a lot of opportunities on offer, but you’ve got to put in the groundwork first.”
Currently ranked world No.48 in his division, Broadbent has a busy schedule ahead with tournaments in Thailand, Malaysia and potentially Turkey in coming months.
But for now, his focus is on the Australian Open and a showdown with world No.9 Robert Shaw in the opening round tomorrow.
It will be Broadbent’s first meeting with the 34-year-old Canadian.
“Getting the wildcard is awesome, I’ve just got to soak it all in,” he said.
“I don’t really have expectations, because as the wildcard you’re the underdog, so I’m just going to give it a crack.”
Broadbent will also contest the quad wheelchair doubles competition alongside Brit Gregory Slade. They face the second seeds, Davidson and Shaw, in the first round.
Find your way to play: Visit play.tennis.com.au to get out on court and have some fun!