- Jordana Klein
2019 Australian Open: IMG Academy Preview
IMG Academy remains the ultimate home for off-season professional tennis training. Over 50 players traveled to Bradenton to take advantage of the weather, facilities, coaches, and overall atmosphere in December, revealing that IMG continues to remain the ideal venue for every ATP, WTA, and ITF player.
IMG's history of success rivals any academy in the world, with more than 10 world No. 1 players having developed from campus. Throughout the year, countless professionals and rising juniors train alongside one another as they work towards achieving success in their upcoming tournaments. What began over 40 years ago as Bollettieri Tennis is now home to over a thousand athletes across eight sports who all aspire to achieve their greatest potential and reach the next level. The energy and atmosphere remains unrivaled, as Grand Slam champions grind on the court while All-Americans compete on the field at the same time that top, national recruits are training inside the gym.
IMG Academy's Director of Tennis recognized that this off-season brought a large number of top professionals as well as younger, aspiring players to one location to take advantage of the all-inclusive training location that IMG has to offer.
"The off-season at IMG Academy was packed with professional players - from the top players to the top 200 ranked," he said. "Many players left Bradenton following their training and headed directly to the Australian Open qualifying events. We saw young players training, like Kyle Edmund, Felix Auger- Aliassime, and Denis Shapovalov, all working towards becoming future Grand Slam Champions, as well as seasoned professionals, like Kei Nishikori and Victoria Azarenka, both vying to stay at the top of the rankings. Players from several tennis federations, including the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and Tennis Canada, only added to the energy that was on campus. Everyone was working hard and preparing for the 2019 season, and this was definitely one of the best and busiest off-seasons we’ve hosted. It’s always exciting to see professionals working hard here at IMG, catching a glimpse of their preparation, and being exposed to their incredible work ethic."
With the Australian Open Main Draw beginning January 14, 2019, players recognized that IMG offered an opportunity to prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year through unrivaled training facilities as well as access to players from around the world who were also working towards achieving the same goals.
Tennis professionals, both returning and new, were welcomed to campus for court and gym access as well as coaching and off-court training from experts who have worked with some of the top players in the world, such as Yutaka Nakamura and Jimmy Arias. Nakamura is dedicated to working with IMG Academy student-athletes and trainees and provides them with the insight as well as the programming that has prepared former champions and highly ranked professionals.
“We’ve been able to integrate off-court development, such as strength, elasticity, and multi-directional speed, to enhance each player’s training," Nakamura said. "Especially in today’s game, it’s crucial to focus on the small, technical elements in the gym and off the court that can make the biggest difference during a match. At IMG Academy, we individualize training with our student-athletes as well as our professional trainees to ensure we maximize each player’s potential during training and development.”
Following this powerful off-season, IMG Academy looks forward to seeing the success of all student-athletes, alumni, and trainees who continue to dedicate their time to improving their game and reaching their full potential.
Watch the video below to have a look inside the off-season training at IMG as well as the unmatched environment that continues to thrive in Bradenton:
Visit IMG Academy's YouTube page for more exclusive videos of professionals training on campus during the off-season: Click Here.
Keep an eye on these IMG Academy student-athletes, alumni, and trainees during the 2019 Australian Open (January 14-January 27):
Beatriz Haddad Mala
Qinwen Zheng (Ana)
View their results here: https://ausopen.com/results#!All