With the AFL season starting in a few days, we will take a moment to look at some past and present players in the AFL who played a high level of tennis throughout their junior careers. With most kids playing multiple sports in their development years, it’s not uncommon for some athletes to become exceptionally good at two or three sports and then concentrate on one as they enter their late teens.
Dustin Fletcher – Obviously a legend of the AFL, and was pretty handy with a racquet. Fletcher was a highly ranked junior who played right up until his early Essendon days. The tall, lanky tennis player was almost unstoppable in doubles.
Matt Egan – Former Geelong centre half back who made All – Australian in 2007. His career was unfortunately cut short when big man Jonathan Brown stood on his foot and broke his navicular bone in his foot. Egan was playing Futures (low level professional ATP tennis) before switching to footy.
Andrew Gaff – Current West Coast Eagles midfielder, was also a very solid tennis player. Gaff attended Carey Grammar where he played in the firsts.
James Tuohey – James is currently on the Geelong list and hoping to make his AFL debut this year. As well as being an outstanding academic student, Tuohey was also a firsts player for St.Kevins College.
Nathan Brown – The former Western Bulldog and Richmond star was also a very highly ranked junior player. Brown played on the junior national tour with great results before focusing more on his football career.
A lot of skills transfer from sport to sport especially in tennis and footy. The athleticism and hand eye coordination needed to excel at both in crutial as well as fitness.