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Train with Chris O’Connell: “Every ball you hit in practice is important” | 15 March, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Train with Chris O’Connell: “Every ball you hit in practice is important” | 15 March, 2024 | All News | News and Features | News and Events

Top-100 star Chris O’Connell reveals why making the most of every minute is important on the practice court in our ‘Train with the pros’ series.

Australia, 15 March 2024 | Jackson Mansell

Hard work and persistence has helped Chris O’Connell reach some incredible heights in his career.

After peaking at world No.53 in singles last year, the 29-year-old from Sydney is now targeting a top-50 breakthrough.

In our Train with the Pros series, O’Connell shares his most memorable practice sessions and offers advice on how to improve your game.

Do you have a favourite time of day to practise?

I would say around 11am. Generally we try to train when matches sort of start, but I prefer to do my training in the morning, so I have my afternoon free.

On average, how many hours do you spend on court training per week?

I actually don’t spend that many hours compared to a lot of guys, but over the years I’ve sort of increased it, so anywhere from two to three hours. I usually do it in one session, I don’t do two sessions in a day.

Do you have a favourite part of your game you like to work on?

Recently, probably volleying. I’ve sort of added it into my game a little bit, so I’m really enjoying working on that because I’m seeing the biggest improvement, as opposed to my groundstrokes which I’ve worked on all my life.

Do you have a least favourite part of your game to work on?

I find working on my serve is pretty boring, but it’s so important. It’s such a key component of your game. So probably serving, but every now and then I don’t mind just hitting serve after serve after serve.

Can you remember the first professional player you had an opportunity to practise with?

It would’ve been Sam Stosur when I was 14. I don’t remember too much from the sessions with her, but I just remember she was super professional.

Can you recall any training sessions you were particularly nervous for?

I practised with Lleyton Hewitt one of the preseasons five plus years ago. That was my most nervous practice.

Who are the players on tour that you most enjoy practising with?

I seem to hit with the same guys week in, week out. I hit with Alexander Zverev a lot, so I enjoy that. I hit with Aslan Karatsev a lot. But I do like mixing up who I practice with, whether it’s a guy that makes a lot of balls or a guy that has a big game, big serve so I can work on my returns. So I’m trying to mix it up constantly.

Are there any players on…

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