Former two-time Australian Open champion Johan Kriek runs his own academy at the North Palm Beach Tennis Center and when he is not at his academy, he is busy playing exhibitions and taking part in fundraising events. In February next year, Kriek will travel to his native South Africa to support the exhibition match with tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Cape Town and says Federer will accomplish even bigger things once he hangs up his rackets.
Speaking to The Palm Beach Post, Kriek, who is a big fan of the 20-time Grand Slam champion, says, “He’s going to be such an enormous force in the world, especially for places like Africa." 61 year old Kriek says he never gets tired of tennis and the sports helps teach kids life skills.
"I never get tired of tennis. It’s such an amazing sport. It’s a lifelong sport. It’s a sport that teaches you life skills. It’s a very difficult sport to master, because it takes so long to get good at it”.
Speaking about his academy, the 1981 and 1982 Australian Open champion says, "We cover all ages, from beginning to intermediate levels to high school and aspiring Division I players. Most of our players are younger, though, and for me, that’s actually the most fun because they’re a blank sheet of paper in a sense.
Our goal is to start them off with the right grips and all the right footwork. Most of them accelerate at their own pace. We are truly in the business of creating skills that are way beyond just the sport. They make friends. I make it fun.
I try to use my vinegar sparingly. It’s a lot of honey. It’s also about personality, and that’s really why I was so successful over the years. I try to keep it simple”.