Young Aussies serve it up to Swede
EMERGING Swedish tennis star Joachim Johansson will hitch a ride at the Australian Open training camp today, hopeful of creating grand slam-winning momentum for next month's centenary championship.
Johansson, ranked 11th in the world, will accompany girlfriend Jaslyn Hewitt to Melbourne Park today for the latest instalment in the increasingly successful training camp.
The tall right-hander, armed with one of the deadliest serves in international tennis, will trade shots with some of Australia's most talented young players under the direction of former world No. 7 Peter McNamara, Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald, aspiring Fed Cup captain Nicole Bradtke and national selector Allan Stone.
One of Johansson's compatriots, Lars Wahlgren, an Australian indoor championship finalist, will also have input into the 10-day camp. The camp will be followed by another brutally competitive mini tournament, played under Australian Open match conditions, with two prized singles main draw wildcards on offer.
Johansson is neither eligible to vie for the wildcard nor in need of it, having already secured his berth in the January 17-30 Open.
Since its introduction last year, the camp has generated career-best results for several Australians, including Peter Luczak, this year already guaranteed a wildcard, a resurgent Evie Dominikovic, Sam Stosur and Nicole Pratt.
Training camp organiser McNamara will again strive to ensure local competitors are prepared for the rugged Australia circuit.
"The training camp is about ensuring our Australian players are well prepared for the tough season ahead and go into the Australian Open with an edge to their fitness and play," McNamara said.
"Training day in, day out under the watchful eye of some of Australia's leading coaches will be a stimulating and motivating environment for everyone taking part and the prospect of a cut-throat playoff for a coveted main draw wildcard in only 10 days' time will be a huge incentive to get the maximum out of the camp."
Hewitt is among 16 women at the camp, including Evie and Daniella Dominikovic, Cindy Watson, Sophie Ferguson and Olivia Lukaszewicz.