Luke Saville: In the service of inspiration | September 17, 2021 | All news | News and Features | News and Events
In our ‘Serving inspiration’ series, Luke Saville reflects on his biggest influences in his career and how he hopes to be a role model for others.
Melbourne, Australia, September 17th, 2021 | Leigh rogers
Currently at the peak of his career as world No.26 in doubles, Luke Saville is showing that hard work pays off.
The former world junior number one has seen many new heights in 2021, including representing Australia at the ATP Cup and making his Olympic Games debut.
The 27-year-old South Australian advanced to eight tour-level doubles quarter-finals, and had the best career third-round runs at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, during an exceptional season.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned in the past 18 months?
I guess I don’t take it for granted. When something that you love and your occupation is taken away from you, it is not easy. But the COVID shutdown from professional tennis gave me time to work on my game, time that I never would have had in a normal year to really calm down and make some changes to help me get through. at the upper level. It has been a blessing in disguise, in unfortunate circumstances. I feel like my game is in the best shape it has ever seen.
What are your earliest memories of tennis?
The Riverland, which is the area where I grew up, is really into tennis. Every city has a bit of a rivalry. The juniors would play on Saturday morning and the seniors in the afternoon. I started playing it as soon as I could. We also had a tennis court in our backyard and I have an older brother and sister so as soon as I could start swinging the tennis racket I was playing with them. They are five and seven years older than me, so that helped me think, because I wanted to join them and follow them. My old man also put up a hitting wall and I started hitting it with a small racquet. Guess you could say I had no choice but to play tennis – but I loved it, and still love it. I like to travel and compete.
How often do you visit where you grew up in South Australia?
I grew up in a small town called Barmera. I go back there from time to time. I like to go back to my roots. My parents are still there, as are my brother and sister. It’s good to visit for about a week, but then I start to want to go back to Melbourne and start training. There are tennis courts there, but no one to really hit.
What have been the greatest inspirations of your career?
All Australian players, especially Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt. We had a very strong time there, that’s for sure. I’ve always had a big soft spot for Roger Federer too. He was amazing when I was riding. He’s been around forever and with Nadal these two are just huge champions of the game.
Do you remember the first professional match you saw live?
I have participated in some of the ITF Futures tournaments in my region, in Berri and Barmera. I started out as a ballkid at those when I was eight. My cousin Shannon Nettle, who got to around 300 in the world, he played a few finals there and I remember my family had a little corporate tent there to support him.
Do you remember the first professional player you got an autograph from?
I was a tennis fanatic, but I can’t remember which would have been my first autograph. Our family has come to the Australian Open every year from a young age and I remember driving all the way to Melbourne and my old man said “you will play there someday”. It’s a memory I have when I was very, very young, which is pretty cool looking back. I’ve always loved going to the Aussie Open and watching tennis.
As a professional player, how do you hope to inspire others?
I pride myself on being respectful there, as well as competing hard and honestly. I work hard off the pitch and do whatever it takes. I consider myself a ‘blue collar’ Australian who respects my opponent and competes very hard – just like Rafter did. He was a really nice guy but he didn’t take any prisoners there, especially when he was playing for Australia.
Find out more in our Serving Inspiration series:
> Astra Sharma
> Ben Weekes