Aussie tennis legend and Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter is set to take on another important national role having been named Tennis Australia’s new director of performance.
The prestigious appointment with the governing body will see the former world No.1 and dual US Open champion charged with reviving Australia’s performance on the international circuit.
The 41-year-old is set to commence the role in February following the Australian Open and will report directly to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“It’s a challenge I am really looking forward to,” said Rafter following the announcement.
“There is so much I can learn but also a lot I think I can contribute. It’s exciting. I feel the time is right to step into this role and help us take the next step.
“I think about it all the time. What can we do better? What can our kids be doing that can make them better than any of the kids from other countries? What more can they do to be the best?”
While Rafter was excited about the scope of his new position he emphasised it would take time before Australia was once again challenging for grand slam titles and the Davis Cup.
“I would like everyone to know that I am not coming into this role early next year saying that I have all the answers. Far from it.
“I am going to take my time, listen, watch and learn. But I also think there is a lot I have gleaned from years on the tour being around a lot of great players, coaches and people that can help us get better and better.”
Rafter is expected to continue as Davis Cup captain as the Aussies prepare to face the world’s top ranked nation, Czech Republic in 2015.
It’s predicted he’ll eventually pass this mantle onto another Aussie tennis great, Lleyton Hewitt, when the 33-year-old decides to retire from the men’s professional circuit.