MANY people dream of rubbing shoulders with the world’s greatest sports stars.
But to do it at one of England’s most historic and prestigious sporting events is “another day’s work” for former Camperdown local Will Keough.
The 23 year-old, who went to Mercy Regional College, is currently working among tennis’ elite as a sports trainer at Wimbledon, one of the sport’s four Grand Slams.
He is on deck every day to tape, massage and needle the players and attend to their other problems, with his main focus on their “prehab and rehab”.
Keough commenced his role for the tournament at Wimbledon’s June qualifying event at Roehampton, an experience he said was “quite different to Australia where everything is done in the same place”.
For years, Wimbledon has held its qualifiers away from its main venue of play to preserve the grass courts for the main draw, an experience he said was quite different.
But it gave him the perfect grounding for the tournament proper, with qualifying finishing just days before the opening round of matches.
Keough has been extremely busy since, working every day to help prepare and refresh the sport’s biggest names for some of the most important matches of their careers.
“I generally start at seven in the morning and don’t finish until 10.30 (at night) so they are quite long days,” he said.
“As for the players, I can’t disclose who I’m working with while the tournament is on but I can say I’m working with some of the greatest players of all time and some up and coming (stars).
“I’m also working with most of the Aussies, being over here together we generally gravitate towards each other.”
The chance to work with the world’s best is not lost on Keough, who admits he has to pinch himself each day he steps foot onto the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon.
He has long been an avid follower of tennis, so working at one of the sport’s four Grand Slams is an experience he said he had only ever dreamt of.
“For me it’s just another day at work but I’ve really enjoyed the experience and to do it at Wimbledon is quite a special thing to do and something I really have to pinch myself about,” he said.
“I’ve always had an interest in tennis, I may not have been too good at it but I can remember running around the complex back in the junior days so I’ve always followed it.
“In my eyes I see Wimbledon as such a prestigious and special event, so to be working over here while it is on is something I’m really grateful to be doing.
“It’s quite special with its history and its prestige so to be working at this event, as I said I really have to pinch myself because it is so special and it’s been quite enjoyable.”
Keough’s road to working at the fabled event is quite the tale.
The expat uprooted his life in Melbourne about 18 months ago to move to London to live and work abroad.
Upon his arrival, he started to build his new life by placing his résumé online and with some employment agencies.
Several interviews for prospective jobs did lead to employment but eventually he secured a position at a mental health and behavioural school as a sports psychologist.
After beginning his new role last year he “completely forgot” his résumés were still in the system until he unexpectedly received a call out of the blue earlier this year.
As he explains, it was a call he is glad he took, with the interview process opening up more doors than he originally anticipated.
“At the start of this year I had someone from the All England Club ask me to go in for an interview,” Keough said.
“So I went through the interview process and that and then originally they offered me the job for just Roehampton.
“But after a few more interviews and then after they checked out my work in Melbourne and a few other things, they ended up re-offering me my position and extended my contact for the main draw and post draw.”
Keough’s luck left him thrilled and with the opportunity of a lifetime, one he has since taken with both hands.
While he still has quite of a lot of tennis left, the tournament is only at the round of 16 stage, to attend to, he said once it was finished it was likely he would return to his sports psychologist role.
But he revealed there is potential for his work in tennis to grow, admitting he is holding out hope that a full-time career in the sport is only just around the corner.
“The experience has opened up quite a few doors and I’m not getting ahead of myself but hopefully a few opportunities will hopefully come out of it,” Keough said.
“I’m hoping there’s a future in tennis, not just over here but also on the tour but I kind of have to buckle in and wait and see what happens over the next few months.”
However, if nothing is to come of his Wimbledon experience, Keough said he is content to have lived out one of his dreams.
He said he would forever live with the memories many others will never experience, such as stepping foot onto the hallowed turf of centre court as well as working with the sport’s elite.
“Being able to step onto the hallowed turf is something I’ll always remember and I’ll always really appreciate,” Keough said.
“If this is to be my last tennis tournament then I’ll be forever grateful to have done it at such a special place.”