Melbourne, Australia , 21 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Marc Polmans has achieved career-high rankings of world No.116 in singles and world No.68 in doubles during his career.

The 27-year-old Australian credits an insatiable appetite for improvement for driving him to such heights.

Polmans recalls some of his favourite training sessions and shares valuable advice in our Train with the Pros series.

Do you have a favourite time of day to practice?

My favourite time of day is definitely 10am to 12pm. I’m a morning person and feel like I have the most energy in the morning, so I like to get in and get my training done. But it can be tricky because a lot of the matches I play are in the afternoon, so you’ve got to also get used to training in the afternoon too. Sometimes I do train from 2pm to 4pm, or 3pm to 5pm.

What is the favourite part of your game to work on?

Probably my returns. I feel like you can never return well enough and that it’s the most important shot in men’s tennis. You have to be able to return well to compete with the top-100 players.

What is the least favourite part of your game to work on?

Probably my volleys. I don’t spend too much time working on my volleys, but I feel like I volley well enough. That’s probably the strongest part of my game, so I don’t really enjoy working on something that I do well. I prefer to spend my time trying to improve my ground strokes.

How do you like to structure your practice sessions?

If I’m practising for two hours, I’d normally spent the first hour doing drills and working on my movement, and then once I’ve hit a lot of balls, I’ll transition to point play in the second hour. A practice set usually takes about 50 minutes. Then the next day, I’ll spend the first hour working on anything I didn’t do well in the practice set.

Can you remember the first time you had a chance to hit with a professional player?

The first top-100 player I hit with was South African player Kevin Anderson. I was born in South Africa and got to hit with him when I was young. I remember being surprised at how big and how hard he hits the ball.

What have been some of your most memorable training sessions?

I’ve hit with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. They all hit the ball so hard and it was so cool to be able to hit with my idols. I think we’ve all watched them on television. Hitting with Novak was probably my favourite, because I think he’s the best tennis player of all time. He’s got the most Grand Slams and his game is just so complete, so I’m always happy to practice with Novak. It hasn’t been often, I’ve only had two or three hits with him, but I do remember them very well.

Are there any players on tour you’d love the chance to hit with?

I’d love to have a hit with Carlos Alcaraz. He’s still fresh to the tennis tour and I haven’t had a hit with him yet. I’d love to see what his ball is like.

Is there anyone from tennis history that you would most like to train with?

I’d love to have a hit with John McEnroe. I like the way he serves and volleys, and I think we could have some fun exchanges at the net.

What advice would you share with an aspiring player to get the most out of a practice session?

You have to work on your weaknesses. It’s not good to just work on your strengths. I think everyone has to work on their weaknesses, whether that’s your backhand or your second serve. You’ve got to spend time on that, because that’s the only way to improve.

Finally, if you had five minutes remaining in a practice session and could do anything you wish, what would you choose?

I’d play this game where it is half-court and you have to volley to each other down-the-line. It’s a very fun, reflex game that a lot of doubles players play.

> READ MORE: From our “Train with the pros” series

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