THE summer in Australia sees tennis fever overrun the country.
The preparation for the Australian Open means that many sports fans, even those who usually aren’t spectators of tennis, are wrapped up in the fever.
For those who love the sport, its a chance to observe the best in the world and learn how to make their own games better.
Echuca’s Erik Holt-Crossman sees the tournament exactly like that.
‘‘I love it as a spectator. I get to go every year and get to be immersed in the tournament as a fan of the sport,’’ Holt-Crossman said.
‘‘But as someone who plays and really has that understanding of the game, it means I get to watch those athletes compete, watch their games and figure out what they are doing differently to me.
‘‘That means I can analyse the areas where I need to improve to take my game to the next level.’’
Holt-Crossman is coming off a stint in Victorian Premier League tennis, where although he only got limited court time, he was able to get more experience by playing against some quality opposition.
‘‘I played off in the final round at Royal South Yarra,’’ he said.
‘‘I played singles and doubles, playing singles against Peter Luczak, which obviously is a massive learning curve to come up against a guy with his level of talent.
‘‘It’s a real eye-opener because he’s obviously been to the levels that I want to go to, so you get to analyse his strengths and see what you can adjust of your own game.’’
Holt-Crossman is home for the break and won’t be straying too far early in the new year either.
‘‘I have my first tournament in Geelong, but then we have a tournament in Shepparton early into the new year,’’ he said.
‘‘So that means that I get to compete, but I also get to be at home with family and just make the trip down every day.
‘‘I do Shepparton most years because its nice to be home for New Year’s, but also they’re on really nice quality courts so its good for getting you used to that quality.
‘‘It’s only a Silver AMT tournament, so the quality isn’t as high as some of the other tournaments that I will go into this year, but the factor of getting to be at home is fantastic.’’
For Holt-Crossman, all opportunities to play across the following months are building towards the Australian Future’s series in February and March.
‘‘The tournament has so many quality young players for me to go against,’’ Holt-Crossman said.
‘‘It means you can really gauge where you are at in terms of other players in the same kind of level as you, so I can’t wait to play there and see where I am at, so I can make changes on my training and coaching to make my game stronger.’’