London, Great Britain, 27 June 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Australia is one of the most heavily represented nations in the final round of the Wimbledon 2024 qualifying competition, with five players competing for a coveted main-draw spot today.

It’s no coincidence that the Aussie contingent (which began with 18 players) has thrived on the grass courts at Roehampton either.

“It sort of feels like home in a way,” noted Olivia Gadecki, who has scored two impressive wins to advance to the final qualifying round for a second consecutive year.

The 22-year-old described the camaraderie and support for Australian players in London throughout this week as “incredible”.

“It’s so nice that we’re at the same tournament alongside one another,” Gadecki said. “It’s not often you get so many Aussies at the same place (on tour).”

Sam Stosur, Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup captain, and Nicole Pratt, Australia’s Billie Jean King Cup coach, have been courtside supporting the Aussie players this week. They’ve been joined by Paul Kilderry, Tennis Australia’s Director of Professional Tennis, and Nicole Kriz, Director of Tennis Australia’s National Tennis Academy.

The Aussie competitors have been watching their peers between their own playing commitments, with Daria Saville, Jason Kubler and Todd Woodbridge also dropping by to show their support.

Additional support has come from Tennis Australia’s team of physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, as well as game analysis experts. A strong presence on the ground at the qualifying event is helping players prepare physically and tactically for their matches.

“It’s amazing having a lot of Aussies here,” said Li Tu, who scored a milestone first Wimbledon win earlier this week.

“Everyone really supports each other, and it helps a lot having a lot of support around. It’s really nice when others make the effort to come out and watch.”

A genuine appreciation for competing on grass courts is also a common trend among the Australian players.

Inglis, one of two Western Australians through to the final qualifying round, grew up playing on the “beautiful grass courts in Perth”.

“Saturday and Sunday pennants, all the tournaments that mum would take me to in the school holidays, a lot of those were on grass,” she related.

“I love the grass. I feel like my game suits it and I just feel comfortable out there.”

> READ: Maddison Inglis continues magical qualifying run at Wimbledon 2024

Alex Bolt’s confidence also rises on grass, a surface he regularly played on during his formative years in South Australia’s Riverland region.

“The way that I play suits the grass courts very well,” explained Bolt, who is enjoying his deepest run in Grand Slam qualifying in almost six years.

“It naturally helps me out with a lot of my shots, and I like to come to net, so I guess it complements my game very well.”

Of course, the prestige of Wimbledon and the chance to add to Australia’s glorious history at the tournament adds further inspiration too.

“I think every tennis player grows up dreaming of playing at Wimbledon,” said Queensland’s Kimberly Birrell after her first-round win.

James Duckworth, who is one win away from completing his third successful qualifying campaign at Wimbledon, agrees the event is “really special”.

“It’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year,” he said.

> READ: Duckworth, Bolt advance to final qualifying round at Wimbledon 2024

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