Coaching perfect practice for Mick
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
HITTING balls with 100 kids as part of his coaching business at his home club of Harrington Park in Camden has proven the perfect lead-up for Matt Mullane who waltzed through the open men's final 6-2 6-2 to cap off his weekend at the Northern NSW junior tennis tournament at Westside Tennis Club yesterday.
Mullane made short work of the left-handed Rhys McDougall in the final but he admits he gained a bit of an advantage during the semi-finals.
"Rhys had a long match in his semi-final and it was a pretty hot day," the champ said.
"That gave me an advantage and I always felt pretty confident.
"I was hitting the ball all right leading into the match."
During the final, Mullane's groundstrokes stayed solid throughout to help him break McDougall's serve twice in each set but it was his own serve that set the victory up.
"I really picked up my serve in the last couple of days," Mullane said.
"I got a high percentage of first serves in during the final and playing against a left-hander suited my serve and it suited my style."
He also said that an improved mental state helped to kick him home.
"I also moved my feet better and I was a lot more intense," the 27-year-old said.
"I was a little bit lethargic when I was playing in the morning."
Leading up to the tournament, Mullane was in a race against time to be fit enough to take his place in the tournament.
"I had a bit of an injury from playing football," the Narellan Jet said.
"I thought it was cracked ribs but it turned out to be really deep bruising.
"I always knew that I would probably come good with it even though I was racing against the clock.
"I thought I'd be right by Wednesday or Thursday and that's how it turned out."