EMOTIONS RUN HIGH AS MOTT TOPS DAY OF AUSSIE SUCCESS
Weeks after a broken wrist required surgery, Blake Mott is among four Australian men to claim opening-round wins in Australian Open 2020 qualifying.
On a day where emotions ran high as a myriad of Australian players rode the wave of home support to score upset victories, it was Blake Mott’s smile which shone the brightest.
Mott’s story is arguably the most dramatic of anyone at Australian Open 2020. Having resumed his professional career in September after two years out of the game, the 23-year-old broke his left wrist while competing in last month’s Wildcard Play-off.
Remarkably, he recovered sufficiently to enter the qualifying rounds this week as a wildcard, beginning his campaign with a 6-3 6-4 upset of Portuguese 27th seed Pedro Sousa.
“Mate, it’s truly amazing,” a visibly delighted Mott said. “I know I can take it to some of the best guys in the world, it’s just about getting out here competing in this environment and building momentum. I think this is only my fifth tournament since I’ve come back, so to gain that confidence against a player of his level this early, really excites me for the year ahead.”
Mott’s victory over the world No.139 was all the more impressive given that he only began hitting backhands again barely a fortnight ago. He admitted that merely being able to compete at Australian Open 2020 was always ‘touch and go.’
“I always just remained really positive,” he said. “It was a really ambitious goal, but I was dedicated to it 110% and I literally took it day by day. The moment I came out of surgery four weeks ago, I had this mindset of just getting it a little per cent better every single day.
“Whether that was being disciplined and keeping it still or moving an extra finger, And before I knew it, it was three days to go, I was hitting backhands and ready to play!”
Having originally quit tennis in 2017, Mott said that he has been inspired by the success of childhood friend Ash Barty, who took her own break from professional tennis before returning to achieve Grand Slam glory at last year’s French Open.
“I think Ash’s story is one for the ages a little bit,” he said. “It’s really inspiring to any player who feels like they need some time away, to decide what they really want to do, and to rekindle the fire. I think everyone needs to find that on their own journey.
“For me I came to a place where I really wanted to make the best out of myself, for me, and that was the main motivation for starting hitting tennis balls again.”