Josh Eagle has enjoyed a career in tennis taking him to thrilling heights as a player and memorable experiences as a coach.
As a doubles Grand Slam finalist himself, Eagle went on to coach elite performers Nick Kyrgios and Sam Stosur, while also working with the Australian Davis Cup team as a coach.
In this interview exclusive with the All Court Tennis Club, we look back at Josh’s experiences in the game and get his predictions for this year’s Australian Open, which got underway on Monday.
Are Australian fans ready to welcome Novak Djokovic back to Melbourne after the Covid vaccine controversy last year?
I think people are keen to move on from what happened with Novak last year and Covid in general. It was a shame to see the situation unfold like it did. It was messy from every standpoint, but he is back now and looking forward. It’s great to have him back on Australian soil, especially as a firm favourite to win. Novak will be very tough to beat, it looks like a near impossible task, especially in the Rod Laver Arena. Nine times a champion, it’s just a stunning record.
Do you see players like Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune ending Djokovic’s reign at the top of the game this year?
You have to serve seriously well and have some big weapons to beat Novak at a Grand Slam, so it won’t be easy. That next generation are coming and guys like Matteo Berrettini and Taylor Fritz could trouble him if they serve well, but he is so hard to beat over five sets. The challenge for the up-and-coming players is to beat guys like Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back over five sets, but it is exciting for the game that players like Alcaraz and Rune have broken through at such a young age.
Nick Kyrgios has been forced to pull out of the Australian Open with a knee injury, but how do you reflect on his rise over the last 12 months?
I remember coming away from my first hitting session with him at Melbourne Park being utterly amazed by what he could do. Aside from Roger Federer, I had never seen talent like that. He is a unique player in so many ways and it became clear quite quickly that I wasn’t the type of coach who could help him. Despite that, it was still great working with him because sitting court-side, you always felt he was going to win. He has so much firepower and can beat anyone in my opinion. It was short and sweet with Nick, but getting up close and personal with him was an interesting experience.
— Eurosport (@eurosport) January 13, 2023
As you look back on your own career, what are your greatest memories?
There were a lot of Australians on the tour at the time and there was a wonderful camaraderie between us all. I was not a great singles player and knew that early on, but I was fortunate enough to play Pete Sampras on Centre Court at the Australian Open when he was the No.1 seed and he went on to win it. I did okay in doubles, so I chose that path and ended up really enjoying my career. The camaraderie doesn’t seem to be there among the players the way it used to be, but that’s because the money is so big now and it has become a business.
Was coaching always the path you wanted to follow?
My coaching journey started when I was working with an Australian player called Marinko Matosevic. He was 250 in the world when we started and he got up to No.39 a year later, so I loved every minute of that journey. Then I became a coach for the Australian Davis Cup team, it was a challenge getting players who play as individuals to work as a team. After that, I worked with Sam Stosur, so I had a coaching story that allowed me to see the game at all levels. I loved it.
How big of an impact can the All Court Tennis Club have on the game globally?
It’s a great concept. Finding tennis courts in big cities can be challenging and to be able to do that through premium clubs is a great opportunity. I love the ethos behind All Court Tennis Club and so many people in our sport will enjoy the idea that they can be anywhere in the world and can lean on All Court Tennis Club to find a court to play on. After everything we have all been through with Covid, people want to have new experiences in life, and All Court Tennis Club is serving them up, which is great for our sport.
The All Court Tennis Club are also gearing up for the epic return of Train & Compete sessions throughout 2023 at our biggest city chapters: London, Miami, New York, São Paulo and Paris. Train & Compete is a 90-minute drill and strategy session delivered by the best coaches in the business. Get in touch with our events team to secure your spot by clicking here.