A former Albury tennis player and coach is now regarded as one of the world’s leading tennis strategists, even helping guide Novak Djokovic to his recent Wimbledon success.
Craig O’Shannessy returned to Albury to catch up with family and friends on a short break, and share his knowledge with local juniors, as well as reflect on his role as a strategist.
“My job is to prepare Novak to fully understand his opponent, and understand the weaknesses of that guy,” Craig said.
“For each match Novak has played over the past two-and-a-half years I’ve done a strategy analysis of his opponent.
“Whoever he plays, I look at that match, look to the opponent and figure out the right patterns of play to win the match. Where is his opponent going to serve? What are their tendencies, where do they make the most errors, how often do they come into the net?”
Djokovic retained his Wimbledon men’s singles title last month, his fifth Championship crown. For O’Shannessy, being part of his behind the scenes coaching ‘team’ and working at Wimbledon is a dream come true.
“Wimbledon is a very special place. Growing up in Albury I clearly remember getting home from school, getting to bed at 7 or 8pm, waking up at midnight and watching Wimbledon until 5 O’clock in the morning,” Craig said.
“It was a romantic place on the other side of the world that I never thought I would get to and now I’m the strategy analyst for the tournament, do a lot of TV work and work with Djokovic.
“Last year I even got to carry the net post out onto centre court and put the net up for the men’s final – no other person other than the groundsman has done that in the history of the sport, so that’s the sort of relationships you build, in this case with the head groundsman.
“I put the net up for the final, commentated on the final and coached the guy who won it. It was one of the most special days I’ve ever had in tennis.”
Follow Craig O’Shannessy on Instagram: @coshannessy