Australian tennis player Archie Graham will be one of the faces to watch when his home 2019 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games get underway in Brisbane in 500 days’ time.
Graham’s impressive record features three World Championships titles, including one from the Global Games which also act as the Worlds for tennis. In addition he is a five-time national champion.
Unbeaten since his maiden title from the Global Games in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in 2015, Graham is excited about attempting to defend his gold medal at home:
“The home territory makes it more easier for me because it’s around where all my friends are, and supporters will be just buzzing there. I hope to be the Australian team again and just keep winning at the top level.”
Before Brisbane 2019, Graham will compete at the 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Tennis World Championships in Paris, France, in July. The competition is being held as part of the World Intellectual Impairment Sport European Summer Games.
Currently training six hours a day for six days a week, Graham is feeling good about his chances in Paris.
“I’m very confident that I will retain my title for the fourth straight time because I have nothing to lose and I can just go out there, give it my all and just do my thing and just do my best,” he said.
But the Australian is also aware that new players are emerging all the time. He believes his attitude will be the key to success and having confidence in all elements of his game.
“Truth be told, and this is the way I see it, anyone can beat me because I always go into a match thinking it’s going to be tough,” he said. “If I don’t have the right attitude they could beat me if my game is off and that’s the sort of mindset I have before a match – thinking that it’s going to be tough.
“My whole game, basically everything about my game, would be strong because I possess an all court game and I have all the weapons necessary to win matches.”
So what is the secret to Graham’s success?
“There’s really no secret about it. I just train hard, put in the work and that delivers the results for me. It’s great.”
About the 2019 Global Games
The Global Games will feature athletics, basketball, swimming, table tennis, futsal, indoor and outdoor rowing, road cycling, taekwondo and tennis. Competition runs from 11-20 October.
The event always takes place in the year ahead of the Paralympic Games. Many medallists have used the Global Games as a springboard, going onto make the podium at the Paralympics. For those athletes competing in non-Paralympic sports it is the highest level they can reach.
More information is available at the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games page of inas.org.