IF there is one person the new crop of tennis players can learn from, it is former mixed doubles Grand Slam champion Matt Ebden.
The Australian No. 6 is recuperating from a leg injury and working towards Wimbledon next month back on the courts at his local club Wembley Downs.
Speaking about recent controversy surrounding Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic, Ebden said he supported the firm stance Tennis Australia and the Olympic committee had taken.
“I tell him how it is when I speak to him (Tomic). I give him some hassle for the things he does and I give him some love for things he does too; we’re pretty good friends and have been for a long time,” he said.
“Probably in tennis we’ve been guilty in the past 10 to 15 years of being a little bit lenient on poor behaviour.
“It’s never a perfect world, but I think it is good the Olympic committee does seem to have a firm stance and there should definitely be a strong code of morals and ethics.”
The former Hale School student said spending a few weeks at home made for a nice change from a life on tour.
“I played the Australian Open in January, I had the leg problem then and then I played a few tournaments in February in the States, but it wasn’t quite right so I’ve spent the last few months seeing doctors and physios at the WA Institute of Sport,” he said.
“The strength and conditioning coach has helped me with all my rehab and the sports doctors have been helping me tremendously.
“My goal is to try and be ready for Wimbledon which is just over a month away so hopefully I can get over to the UK in the next few weeks and be ready for that.”
Coming from a long line of tennis players, Ebden said he played tournaments at the age of six.
“Since I could walk basically I was hitting a ball against a wall while they were playing on the weekend,” he said.
“For me, it was what I wanted. I love the pressure of competition. But going pro has meant a lot of sacrifice, time and a lot of travel time away from family and friends.”
Recently made an honorary member of Wembley Downs Tennis Club, Ebden said he had spent much of his childhood on the courts at his local club.
“I’ve done many off-season training sessions here, up to six hours a day every day on these courts,” he said.
“(I’ve probably spent) over a thousand hours here, so lucky I’m not paying court hire by the hour.”
“I’m not here very often these days, so it’s nice to be recognised and made to feel very warm and welcome by residents and players.”