Not even a broken-down ute could stop one tennis player from securing the bag and back-to-back titles at recent Darwin events.
Blake Mott (left) and Jake Delaney following the match alongside all the local ball-kids and officials who helped out at the NT International, September 24, 2023. Photo: Emily Ooms-Webb.
Flying home with heavy pockets following a well earned $50k payday, Wollongong born Blake Mott aced the recent ITF Darwin events.
Taking out the Darwin International Pro Tour last week after a dominant 6-4 6-1 victory over countryman Blake Ellis, Mott backed up his heroics with his second title on the trot, defeating Jake Delaney, 6-2 2-6 6-3 last Sunday.
The 27-year-old said he was in great shape all tournament and that his love for the Darwin courts had continued following his success.
“I love playing up here (Darwin),” Mott said.
“Off the back of my win last week, I felt like I was just in a great place physically and mentally and that enabled me to focus solely on my game.”
Humble in success, Mott said he was fortunate to be in the final and his opponent put up one hell of a fight.
“I was probably a bit lucky to be there (in the final) but I just thought to myself that I’ve come this far and I’ve just got to put in all on the line,” Mott said.
“Jake (Delaney) played a great match.
“I got the better of him in the first (set, but then I played some pretty poor shots which he capitalised on and he won the second.
“In the third I got out to a nice lead at 5-0 but I lost my way a bit and he came back.
“He had the crowd around him cheering him on but I reset and focused on my game and got the victory.
“I’m pleased with the win but even more so that I fought back, so it’s a good personal achievement.”
Blake Mott in action during his grand final win at the 2023 NT International. Photo: Emily Ooms-Webb.
Not one to be deterred by the tough Territory conditions, Mott said he always looked forward to playing in Darwin.
“I’ve seemed to found success here and the overall vibe when I play here is always great,” he said.
“The courts up here and the facility is really good.”
The New South Welshman believes that coming off an event in Hong Kong and having the two tournaments back-to-back helped him in his triumph.
“Coming straight from Hong Kong and playing two-weeks in a row is definitely a big help,” he said.
“Obviously it’s hot but as the matches don’t start till 3pm and often go into the night, it means that the heat doesn’t completely get to you.”
The back-to-back winner nearly didn’t make the final following a breakdown on the Stuart Highway hours before.
“On the way here, I was in Hayden’s (coach) HiLux and it broke down in the middle of the road,” Mott said.
“I was out on the road directing traffic as we pushed it off.
“I told him I had to go or I’d be late so I left.
“I empathised with him because I had a HiLux a while back and the same thing happened to me.
“But he told me he’s got it in to get fixed so it’s all good.”