Conor Niland on the Functional Tennis Podcast

Conor Niland

Grand Slam Stories

Episode 58

Conor Niland, the highest ever ranked Irish tennis player joins the podcast this week.

Conor tells us stories about his grand slam experiences, training with Pete Sampras & Andy Murray, college tennis & much more!

He is also the current Irish Davis Cup captain. Enjoy the episode!

 

If you find it interesting please share with your tennis friends and family.

Thanks to our sponsors HEAD who allow us to have a producer and a better sounding podcast 🙏


Follow Conor on Twitter

https://twitter.com/conorniland1

 

Episode Transcription

Conor Niland

Hi, I am Conor Niland and you're listening to the Functional Tennis Podcast.

 

Fabio Molle

Welcome to Episode 58 of the Functional Tennis Podcast. This week I'm excited to speak to Ireland's, Conor Niland. Conor is the most successful Irish male tennis player over the past 40 years. He was ranked number three NCAA, achieved a career high ATP ranking of 129, qualified for Wimbledon and the US Open main draw, played over 25 Davis Cup matches and is now the current captain of the Irish Davis Cup Team. He tells us some great anecdotes from his tour life as well as great advice for junior tennis players and parents. Hope you enjoy the episode. Here we go. Conor welcome to the Functional Tennis Podcast.

 

Conor Niland

Thanks Fabio. Thanks for having me.

 

Fabio Molle

Really excited to have you on. I was doing some research last night. Not that I had to do research but I was going through some of the old Fitzwilliam Junior Championship results. There's a website out there with them all on it. And I did play you once, I think the only time I ever played you, you probably don't remember, but it was doubles, I think was under 16 - you were playing with a guy called Fergus Adams.

 

Conor Niland

Okay, yeah that was in Fitzwilliam Tennis Club, was it? I don't remember even playing doubles with him. So Fergus was an English tennis player, but his mom was from county Meath, I think. And his dad was from the north of Ireland, but he was born and raised in England, and I used to play a lot of tournament's over there growing up and we became good buddies, and he would come over and played that. But I have absolutely no memory of not only playing you, but not even playing with my doubles partner for that whole week in the Nationals, which is kind of weird. But anyway, that's really interesting.

 

Fabio Molle

It doesn't surprise me, its first round, you know, you used to just walk through these. Myself and I don't know if you remember Derek - we did squeeze a set from you. So I'll take that with the career you have had, I will take that.

 

Conor Niland

Derek was carrying you, he was a good athlete - I remember him!

 

Fabio Molle

Derek was really good. So I've gone through your resume in the intro. And I was saying, what are we going to talk about in this show, and there's so much from obviously your junior career, your training at various places, and then onto your stab at the pro career and going to college - becoming top three NCAA player, back on the pro tour, being Ireland's best grand slam player for over 30 or 40 years. And your Davis Cup matches, your Davis Cup captain and so many more things as like we're not never going to cover all this and I thought why don't we ask Connor about his his experiences and how we can help other players out there be better make better decisions on and off the court. So I'd like to talk a lot about that. But before we get started, maybe let's talk about probably the thing you talk about most is probably the best match ever you had at Wimbledon. Yeah, it was a great summer. I had played Queen's warm up event a couple of weeks before and had lost six in the third - last round of qualifying to Matt Ebden. And there was sort of some talk of me potentially getting a wildcard but I didn't really think it would happen obviously I'm Irish and it was always a long shot, but that was sort of happening in the background. But anyway, I went to went to qualifying and saved a couple of match points in the first round of qualifying and then second round qualies I beat Greg Jones from Australia and then Nicola Mektic in the last round of qualies, which is best of five sets for last round of qualies at Wimbledon. But we started the last round of qualies on the Thursday and didn't get it finished until the Saturday because of rain. So it was really obviously the biggest match in my life a huge amount riding on it and even though I was, you know, I won the first set and then sort of midway through the second set, we were off and had to go home for the night and then back. It was a stressful three days just, you know, kind of almost there, but not there and then had a few Irish mates who were living in London at the time and my brother lived in London for a long time. So we had a nice crew there supporting me. And then when I got over the line it was a brilliant moment and yeah, then obviously got to play main draw against Mannarino from France, Adrian Mannarino and had a really tough four hour bicep battle that I probably should have won, I was up 4-1 in the fifth - double break and it just got away from me and I would have I would have played Federer on centre court in the second round, so bittersweet, but definitely something that I look back on with a lot of fondness. I'm really glad and feel really lucky that I was able to get to play at that tournament. You know, we all dream about as tennis players and then qualified for US Open that summer and played Djokovic on Arthur Ashe so I was able to sort of tick that box of playing on a big court at a slam just after Wimbledon so yeah, it was a great summer with a lot of good memories. Our listeners probably don't know about it, but tell us - what happened the night before the Djokovic match? Well, I got food poisoning, I think. I certainly got a bad stomach bug. So I was all I guess qualified again on the Friday or Saturday and I played him on the Tuesday and woke up. It was actually two nights before and I was I was very very sick and getting sick all night and all the next day and was trying to rehydrate and if it was any sort of a Futures or something I would have pulled out you know, I had just nothing in me, but obviously with their with Djokovic there and getting on that court. There was no way I wasn't going to and I went out and I hit the ball okay, but I just had nothing in me and he was you know, number one in the world at the time, I was just, you know, even me my best, you know, I probably would have only gotten a couple of games each set doing well so I lost thefirst set 6-1 and then at 5-0 in the second after having the doctor on court, and kind of with the advice of the doctor as well. And I just stopped so I had to retire in that match. So I got the experience of going out there, but I couldn't enjoy the couple of days before because I was just trying to deal with this sickness. So kind of a strange one. I guess that's tennis. You know, we have to take the good with the bad. It wasn't coach Gary Cahill trying to poison you, was it?

 

Conor Niland

Definitely not. Knowing Gary, he would have been trying to get to Djokovic not me! So no, it's just one of those things. There was a hurricane in New York that weekend and they had shut down Manhattan and lots of restaurants were shut. And they had at our hotel, a list of restaurants in the area that had kept open. And so we went to one of those, and I guess it was that meal, maybe there was some sort of, you know fridges were turned off or fresh food wasn't getting in like it usually was because of the hurricane. It's kind of a funny, interesting story rather than me saying, Oh, yeah, lost to Djokovic 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 at least I've got a bit of story around it as well, you know, yeah.

 

Fabio Molle

And you didn't get to play Federer at Wimbledon. But you did play him as a young 11/12 year old?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah, we played. We're at an event over in France and we played Switzerland in a match. And I found a piece of paper in my bedroom a few years later, and he had just won Junior Wimbledon or, you know, something like that. He was sort of 16 at the time. And obviously been tracking it ever since. And so yeah, really incredible that he's gone on to such incredible things. But yeah, he was very loose and get a different sort of a different sort of vibe, obviously as a 12/13 year old, he was 12 I think I was 12 as well we're the same age. So a little bit of a different body language and he was a lot looser than he is, you know, in terms of kind of concentration and applications so yeah, but yeah, so it's acrazy story and a crazy career that he's had.

 

Fabio Molle

And for the record you did beat him. Yeah, I did. Yeah, five and two, I think it was so straight sets no problems. They all count!! And tell me, I'm throwing out all of these famous names, but it's great to be able to throw them out. Your training session with Pete Sampras. Yeah, I have another funny story around that. I was playing a challenger in Carson in Los Angeles and it was first round I was playing Ryan Sweeting from the US and I just served for the match in the second set it was a really, really windy day. So I guess it was, I don't know, six, four or five, four up or something and I lost my serve. And I took the ball out of my pocket. And I hit it down the other end of the court in sort of anger and the wind took it and it ended up hitting a lines judge and I shouldn't laugh - lightly on the shoulder. And the lines judge obviously wasn't in a lot of pain, but was a little bit a little bit shook as was I and I got defaulted. So I was out of the tournament, and a friend of mine who was the manager at UCLA, who does a little bit of work with Pete, he texted me and said I saw your out, can you hit with Pete tomorrow at UCLA? So I said yeah, no problem. And obviously he was my big idol growing up. So like first thing, obviously. Hi, Pete. How are you? Nice to meet him. Pete says yeah, how'd you get on with the tour? I got defaulted. It's like the first thing I'm saying to my childhood idol is you know, I got defaulted on the tour which only happened once in my in my life. So kind of funny story so we ended up getting on pretty well, having a good hit and he had hurt his back actually, I think so he only hit kind of ground strokes for an hour and then he didn't hit any serve so I didn't actually get to face and the Sampras serve but he had a really good penetrating ball it was surprisingly flat and heavy - it really came through the court a lot. Sometimes I found when I was playing guys, so at the top hundred, the ball can actually slow down a bit when you're playing with them. They make a lot more balls, like sometimes at Futures things can be almost really fast and everyone's sort of slapping the ball all over the place. And then at the higher levels, things slow down a bit. And you feel like you actually have quite a lot of time. But whereas when I was playing with Pete, it was really it was really coming on to me. Yeah, cool experience to meet him. Do you still have him on Whatsapp? Haha it was all through his manager. I've never got the number! And how does his ball, I know you trained with Murray as well how did their balls compare?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah a bit different. Obviously Andy when I was training with him was you know was two in the world or whatever at the time whereas Pete had been I don't know off the top of my head maybe five years retired. When I played practice points on that with Murray I just found it really like I was just thinking so how do I actually how am I going to accumulate points against this guy because he is so hard to put the ball passed because he's so quick and then obviously he's ridiculously solid, he's not going to miss and then he's got you know, he's popping the serve down at 130 and he's got you know, beforehand, huge and then he's got variety as well. So, and I just got the full picture with Murray I suppose, in terms of how much he brings to the table and you know, he's got probably four or five different ways he can beat you and again with with the Sampras practice it was a little bit more up and down the middle. And I didn't get to face the serve. I think the Sampras game was probably a little bit more simplein that you know, the serve was the foundation. And then, you know, he obviously had the running forehand, the athleticism and all the rest of it. But yeah the Murray session was, he just had so much to his game. That was so interesting.

 

Fabio Molle

What did you come away after practicing with Murray, what's the few takeaways that you got? That made you up your game after that?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah, I think I found myself playing some really good tennis for the couple of months after we did sort of two little two day blocks with him. And I think you find, I think playing with top players is really motivating. In the first instance for guys who are you know, I was, I guess I was 150 in the world or something at the time. So it's really motivating you do obviously get to win, you know, some points against them. So it's great for your confidence, but then obviously you're bringing your level up because you want to give them a good practice. So the quality of your sessions probably goes up a little bit more than usual. So you're just getting a lot of benefit. And it was really interesting in this sort of attention to detail around, you know, obviously had physical trainers. He had a couple of coaches with him. Danny Valverdu was there and Alex Corretja at the time. And then he I think there was even I think he was may have been trying out a couple of pairs of shoes at the time. He didn't have any bevels, I think on his grip on his racket, it was a smooth, round grip. I think I might be misremembering that but just lots of those little details. He was quite as I say, kind of looking for that edge, I guess all the time and making sure everything was was absolutely perfect. And so yeah, it was interesting. Whereas, you know, I suppose I was a little bit more rough and ready I guess I don't have the budget you know to employ I was there with Gary Cahill was there for the trip and so I had one coach whereas he had you know, four or five people on his side of the court. But that comes with the success you know that he's that he's worked for his whole life so it was really cool experience

 

Fabio Molle

While what he mentioned Gary there, Just a quick one on Joe O'Dwyer where we had him on the show about 20 episodes ago and he was saying that he was traveling we you clay court tournament and you were playing matches with the wrong sole shoe - is that a true story or not?

 

Conor Niland

Oh, yeah. When I actually heard that and I was like, well hang on. I won like four or five futures on clay before I met Joe so I'm not sure maybe that week or something I had different shoes on I don't remember that but Joe was a brilliant character and really knows his stuff as well. He's traveled with myself and Jeff Salzenstein who was top 100. Obviously James Mc Gee was top 150 and yeah, gave me some really good information on running forehand. He really helped me with my slice backhand, I didn't have much of a slice back and up until my mid 20s. And then he just helped me kind of lock that in which gave me a bit more of an out and a changeup in my in my rally play, which was really helpful. And he had some really good drills as well for working on sort of specific shots in specific parts of the court. Like if you're particularly deep on a ball, the shot to hit down to the body, the body shape, you know, it was it was a really good couple of years with him, I suppose I had a lot of different influences and coaches in my in my career, and it takes a little bits from everybody, but I've always found like the real the book obviously stops with you. If you're not driving the bus it's not going to happen. And so I've kind of feel like I've noticed a shift in the last 10 years or 15 years where it's almost as if the player is a total blank canvas and it's really about the coach and the coach's input. That's what makes the player but I kind of always thought it was the total opposite. It's 90% the player and it's on them, and sort of 10% what the coach can bring.

 

Fabio Molle

I think I agree it always, as you say, the coin drops at the player, it's up to them to perform to take all their learnings and execute on court to coach. Yeah, absolutely. You've retired now, it's eight years is it?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah, it was April 2012.

 

Fabio Molle

I didn't think was that long ago. It's absolutely flown along. And I know eight years is is a long time, but it goes by quick. Do you still wish you were out there competing? Or are you happy with the day job?

 

Conor Niland

I suppose when the big tournaments are on, aI would like to still be involved, but I know what goes with getting to those tournaments. And it's, and it's 30 weeks on the road and 24/25 of those weeks, certainly at the challenger level are played in front of kind of, you know, one or two people. There's not a lot of atmosphere, so you're really driving yourself on all the time at that level. And I would love another shot at it. I'd love to, I'd love to be 16 and knowing what I know now, and I would have done things a little bit differently, but you know, I think I made I made a pretty good stab at it from Ireland, I don't think we had a lot of good information growing up, about how to do it. Whereas, you know, maybe the French and the Spanish and the Germans and that they've had such a such a history of producing players, the paths can be followed. And I had guys like Owen Casey and others who were really good players top 250 and learned a lot from them but it would have been there but again, I just feel like I could have done with knowing a bit more about sort of scheduling and where to go and where to train and things like that.

 

Fabio Molle

And okay, this gets us onto I think the meat of this episode is What do you know now that you didn't know, as a 14/15 year old?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah, I think I didn't play enough Junior international events, like you talk about Federer and my Federer match. And, you know, I think if we looked at his, and I'm not obviously not comparing myself to Federer but if, if you look at maybe what he was doing between the ages of 12 and 17/18, in terms of maybe the international tournaments he was playing in, I was sort of still focusing kind of on the domestic circuit a little bit in Ireland, and I'm playing a lot of tournaments in the summer, but then not playing a huge amount in the winter, and then not playing on clay against the best kids in Europe, between the ages of sort of 12/13 and 18. And I think that's a tricky time. So you know, at 16 I probably would have really tried to focus more on playing, you know, a mix of ITFs and futures and that but I look back at my tournament schedule when I was sort of 16/17/18. I only played like two or three ITF's, maybe one Futures and the rest were just the domestic tournament's in Ireland. I was at boarding school in England, I was playing sort of the school's circuit in England, but it wasn't really the top top level internationally, so I kind of felt like I had a lot of catching up to do and it obviously helped going to college in the States. But again, I wasn't, I wasn't sort of doing the same, the same work and getting the same matches under my belt at that young age that I think you need so that would have been something I would have done a bit differently.

 

Fabio Molle

And you went pro right after school was that decision? Do you make a decision saying I'm going to go pro for a year, see how it goes and then go to college or had you always planned to go to college the year after?

 

Conor Niland

I pretty much planned to go to college. So I played Davis Cup. My Davis Cup debut was summer of 2000 with Peter Wright, who was my Berkley coach and the Davis Cup coach and he essentially offered me a scholarship that summer for the following year. And I'd already committed to doing a year off on the tour. So I went down and did a tour in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, played a few in England, I got up to 800 ATP. And actually, at the end of my year, I did three weeks in South Africa with a guy called David Nankin, a South African coach and former player I think he made third round of Wimbledon and US Open, he was, you know, around 100 of the world. And he's worked with Sam Querrey and a few of these guys and he kind of at the end of that trip, he said maybe you have a chance to play, maybe you should, you know, think about keeping going, he wasn't trying to tell me to, but he was just sort of saying, you know, maybe keep your options open. And certainly, at the end of your career, I think you've got a chance to do something whereas I hadn't had a lot of that before. So I can't remember once being told by somebody in Ireland that I was going to be a Top 150/Top 200 player, and now I don't blame them for that. But I think there's very few coaches in Ireland and certainly weren't back then who kind of were saying, oh, look at this guy is pretty good, we could probably do something with him, let's take them on a bit of a journey. So it was all up to you and up to your family and doing it yourself and learning as you go and, and making mistakes, and then you're losing, you're losing a year or two doing the wrong thing. And you're kind of two steps forward one step back a bit. And that's kind of the problem with Irish tennis a but - it's, you know, there's not kind of a set routine for players and they kind of know what to do each year.

 

Fabio Molle

Do you think it's important for parents to build like a committee team of x players, x coaches who've been there and done that? Do you think that can add a lot of value? Or does it complicate things?

 

Conor Niland

I mean, I think the more good people you can surround yourself with who know what they're talking about, will help so yeah, I mean, I think that would would be would be helpful, but I think you've got to you've got to show results domestically, obviously first, before you start like I wouldn't you know, somebody losing 1st or 2nd round of the national championship you know, I wouldn't be suggesting that they go and play 10 Tennis Europe events every year. But if you're making SF or Final or winning it, then, you know, maybe it's time for you to start to, to look to do that. So I think it's just about about progressing in stages and that but as I say, I'd like it to be a bit more kind of organized and people knowing what they're doing, because it's not that complicated. You need to get out there and play 10/15/20 tournaments a year in Europe from the ages of 12 or 13. But we've so few players doing that in Ireland whereas if you look at the French or the Spanish or the Germans or you know, whoever they're all doing that. Not all them make it, but that's what they're all trying to do.

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah, completely agreed. We get a lot of questions from players from parents outside of Europe that want to send their 11/12/13/14/15 year old kid over to an academy in Europe, obviously because they think they have access to great coaches and tournament's - a lot of tournaments. What's your criteria for a parent to send their kids to Europe or even an Irish kid to the academy in Europe?

 

Conor Niland

Yeah, I suppose my, my rule of thumb would be, I would be saying 16 you know, maybe maybe the tail end of being 15 going into the age of 16, I think then I'd be comfortable with somebody go into an academy, and they've shown results sending an 11 or 12 year old halfway across the world to be a tennis player is a big, it's a big risk. I'm not saying it's, no, it shouldn't be done. But I'm just I just think it's tough on the kids. I feel like if you've got a decent setup, where you live, you can still get out and play Tennis Europe's and in holidays. You know, obviously people in the US can just play scheduling in the US and do okay. But yeah, I mean, I think 12/13 do you need to training four hours a day? I don't think so. I think you probably do need to be doing that at 15/16 for sure. I think absolutely. But I think at 12/13 they're still very young and I'd be, I'd be thinking that's a little bit too soon. But look, if you look at guys in the top, top hundred in the world, some of them have done that and that's worked out for them. So who am I to say, but in my personal view, I think that's a little blurry.

 

Fabio Molle

What criteria would you have for them picking an academy? So your 16 year old kid, you're winning national championships. You want to play with better people, you want to play with Europe's best what would you look for in an academy?

 

Conor Niland

Climate that you can play pretty much all year round and get access to clay courts. I think that's obviously the thing that you're going to be not getting in Ireland. And then you've obviously got your Mouratoglou and your Sánchez-Casal that he ticked all those boxes. They're just very, very expensive. So unless you're good enough that the that the academy just really wants you there and wants to you know, wants to be associated with you. You're going to be forking out 40 grand a year or whatever it is. It's a big expense. So I'm not an expert onJunior academies but I know that those those places have a long history of producing good players and I think the more exposure you can get to clay, to good coaches and good tournament's internationally the better for your tennis So, you know, I'd be suggesting that people, if they really want to, to make a leap in Ireland, you know, make that move and if they can to somewhere in Europe and get exposure to all those things.

 

Fabio Molle

Yeah, get playing matches with the best in Europe, I think can help you. And okay, moving on to the decision to go to college. I know. Again, this is a big thing in Ireland with players who we don't honestly have the best players in the world, but they have opportunities to go to great colleges in ithe US and the same with players from Eastern Europe from all over the world. When should a player go to college or go pro?

 

Conor Niland

My thinking on that would be unless you're winning grade one ITFs you should be going to college so if you're you know if you're not, you know right there at the slams making sort of quarterfinal/semifinal of junior Grand Slams or Orange Bowl, kind of fairly consistently showing yourself to be a real top 10/Top 15 in the world prospect, I think you should go to college at least for a year or two. I don't think it's perfect. And from a creating a tennis player point of view college in the States, but it takes a lot of boxes. And that it's obviously you're getting a lot of matches, you're getting free training, you're getting a great experience and you're keeping your options open. Like if you go to if you're 100 or 75 in the world ITF under 18. The chance of you turning around in four or five years time being a top 100 ATP player are probably pretty small if you're playing a full schedule on the junior circuit because it doesn't come out of thin air between the ages of 17 and 22. And then if you go to college in the States at least for a couple of years, if you're playing three or four on your college team again, the chance of you being top 100 player are pretty small, so go to college, if you go and dominate college for a year or two and are top five in college in the States, then yes, you've got a better chance to be Top 100/Top 150. So I think you got to, you got to look at it that way. Obviously, we have a bit of a cultural connection with the US with the language and everything. And with me, again, it was always important for my parents that, you know, I finished school and then went onto college, and then I saw where I was after that. And that probably didn't help my ranking at the end. But at the same time, you know, I think if I'd gone on the tour at 16 or 18, I think it would have been a tough couple of years. Trying to make that transition and maybe I'm 23 or 24 and would have been a little bit burnt out. So there's a couple of different ways to look at it.

 

Fabio Molle

Did college mentally help you on the pro tour doing those four years at Berkeley?

 

Conor Niland

It definitely toughened me up. I got a lot of wins, took a little bit of pressure off too when I went out on the tour that I had a, you know, had a degree and a college career and a great experience behind me. And then I was lucky that Wayne Ferreira obviously, he was top 10 in the world, and he coaches Francis Tiafoe now, but he was living close to Berkeley. And when he retired, in my second year, he started to work with me a lot. And we used to train and he gave me a lot of belief and said, I think you can be top 100 or very close to it. So to hear that from the guy who had been top 10 was huge for me. And then the actual work we did was really good as well. So I was lucky that I got to get that kind of influence in my career that I might not have gotten if I'd played and stayed in Ireland and tried to make it on the tour. So yeah, you need a little bit of luck as well.

 

Fabio Molle

I think you work for the luck you put yourself in those positions. And then that's how you get lucky which you did because you definitly touched a lot of good players in Sampras/Federer. You know, you came in contact with them. So obviously you were doing the right things and you were on the right trajectory.

 

Conor Niland

Yeah I was, I got injured at the end of my career, I'd won three challengers. I won two challengers in 2010, and qualified for two slams in 2011. Then had to get hip surgery and had to retire in 2012. So I was doing, I was doing well. And I look at a guy like Paolo Lorenzi or somebody who was, you know, made his breakthrough in the top 100 late in his 20s and stayed there for six or seven years. So I feel like maybe I could have done something similar to that but unfortunately, I had hip problems similar to what Murray has now and had to get surgery and just couldn't continue. But yeah, as you say, I touched a lot of those top players and a couple of the big tournament so that was great.

 

Fabio Molle

And how are the hips now? I know we payed soccer last uear and you seemed to be ding well

 

Conor Niland

We did at Christmas. You're right. You're right. You have a better memory than me. Yes. It's okay. They're okay. I can do like little bits. I can play a bit of football or I can play tennis. But I couldn't sort of maybe go into five, six days in a row of two hours tennis a day, you know, it's, again, a little bit of pain. It's fine. It's, it doesn't bother me day to day, I just couldn't. I couldn't play pro sports, I guess. But from a day to day thing, it's fine.

 

Fabio Molle

And do you play any tennis at all?

 

Conor Niland

I try and get out once a week. I've got two small, two small kids and it's tough. It's tough to do it and I like to play a little bit of golf as well. But I say I try and get out once a week. It's probably more like once a month in reality, but hopefully when the kids get a bit older, I'm going to start you know, playing a bit more and have a bit more free time but yeah, it's something that I still I still follow the tour and I love watching tennis and I love being involved. I'm obviously Davis Cup captain. And we've haven't got anything on for 2020 obviously with this pandemic, but I love being involved with those guys for the week of the Davis Cup and obviously just checking in with them all through the year. So it's, you know, I'm still involved and always will be.

 

Fabio Molle

Great and let's end this on. We always end with all our guests on bits of advice for a 14 or 15 year old junior who are quite good in their country. They want to be pros, what's the first thing you'd say to them?

 

Conor Niland

I'll be saying try to get out there and play and try to get your sort of 60 matches a year if its possible on the European circuit and see where you match up. Keeping your options open with school and try and get a little bit better every day. If you if you do those things, you won't go far wrong. That's perfect Conor.

 

Fabio Molle

Thank you very much. great having you on.

 

Conor Niland

Cheers Fabio

 

Fabio Molle

Hope to see you on the tennis courts soon at some stage or a game of football! What a great chat with Conor. Hope you enjoyed the stories and picked up some valuable advice. I'll be back next week with Jude O Reilley, an ex top international golf caddy, who is now a personal performance advisor and he talks to us about the transition from the junior game to the pro game, improving decision making, managing stress and more. It's definitely an episode that can help you gain an edge. Until then, get out there and play some tennis. Bye!

PODCAST SPONSORED BY HEAD