Each December the country’s best tennis players assemble at Melbourne Park for the December Showdown. In 16 days, more than 1500 matches are played to find out who is Australia’s best junior tennis player across each age group (U12, 14, 16 & 18). The Australian Open Wildcard Play-Off is also played, which sees players from around Australia battle it out for a golden ticket into the main draw of the Australian Open.
My role as a one of the physiotherapists was to provide physiotherapy & medical care to all of these athletes at Melbourne Park. Not only do we provide ‘in-rooms’ treatment, but we also attend to court calls. Here, we perform a very quick on-court assessment where we determine their exact injury, if they are able to continue playing, and whether treatment, given as a ‘medical time out’, will help. I have had to learn how to tape an ankle in 3 minutes– it’s not as easy as it sounds!
My role also expanded this year, involving more of the day-to day management and co-ordination of the entire medical team, including the physiotherapists, massage therapists, sports physicians and physio Master’s students. A great aspect of being part of a bigger team of health professionals is discussing new research, treatment techniques and improving treatment effectiveness.
Working with elite junior athletes in a fast-paced, high pressure environment is certainly a challenge. Not only do we have to think on our feet and make decisions quickly, there is also the added challenge of working with parents and coaches to get the best outcome possible without affecting the players health, growth and development.
It was certainly a busy 2 weeks away from the clinic, with days ranging from an 8/8.30am start to as late as a 10pm finish! But is always a rewarding and fun experience and enables me to come back to PMPP with greater knowledge and skill set.
**For any tennis related injury advice, management and prevention please don’t hesitate to call the girls on reception on 96817255 and book in with Diana today