Australian tennis’ new dream team pairing of Pat Rafter and Tony Roche were fronting the media for the first time since the announcement last week that they were taking over the reins. Two of the all-time greats, resplendent in the traditional gold jackets, talking about their plans for the Australian Davis Cup team. Rather appropriately they were standing at Pat Rafter Arena.
The man with the stadium named after him, told the gathering the time and circumstances were right for him to take on the job of Davis Cup captain. But he remains under no illusions. “It’s going to take a while, we have to be patient.” One of the big attractions for the new captain is obviously having Roche at his side. “He’s worked with Lendl, he’s worked with Federer, he’s worked with Lleyton and he knows what it takes to be a player and it’s about hard work. There aren’t any secrets and that’s what we’re going to be drumming into these kids,” Rafter explained.
“It’s a great honor,” Roche said describing how he and old mate John Newcombe had “started from scratch” all those years ago and had their “ups and downs” along the way. Judging by the Australian tennis trophy cabinet, they clearly got the job done. Now he is back, alongside one of his former players and keen to do it all again. “It is a big challenge. We have a long way to go and there is a lot of hard work to be done.” But, given Australia’s great history in tennis, he remains confident it can be done. And given he has coached four world No.1 players, he should know. And with that the group assembled courtside to watch some of the top talented youngsters go through their paces. It is something they will probably be doing a lot of in the ensuing months.