Rory Sloane lived out a childhood dream at Memorial Drive on Tuesday evening.
An excited but nervous Sloane strolled onto the main court to hit up with Australian tennis champion and Crows No.1 Ticket Holder, Lleyton Hewitt, ahead of his opening match at the World Tennis Challenge.
The Adelaide best and fairest winner was a talented junior tennis player and also coached. He played in a few tournaments, but his ultra-competitive nature meant he didn’t always handle losing well and was prone to throwing a racquet or two! In the end, he opted to pursue a team sport in footy – and we’re glad he did.
He said hitting with the former World No.1 at the home of tennis in Adelaide was an unbelievable experience.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to hit with Lleyton, a guy I idolised growing up,” Sloane said.
“It was awesome to be out there with him on Memorial Drive right before a match. I think Lleyton might’ve been taking it a bit easy on me, so I got a few balls back over the net!”
Sloane also got to meet World No.13 Marin Cilic and his coach, former big-serving Croatian Goran Ivanisevic.
Sloaney might get a call back after Lleyton went on to beat Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in straight sets in front of an adoring home crowd.
The pair caught up again on Wednesday morning when Lleyton and his team headed to West Lakes to watch the Crows train. Young Cruz Hewitt had a kick with his favourite player, Sloane, and Lleyton showed he’s still capable with a Sherrin, nailing a set shot from a tight angle at AAMI Stadium.
The retiring ‘Rusty’ will play against Cilic at Memorial Drive on Wednesday night before heading to Melbourne to commence his final-ever Australian Open campaign.
Good luck, mate!