Former professional tennis player Alun Jones will join local juniors in the Canberra Velocity team. Photo: Melissa Adams
It has been four-and-a-half years since Alun Jones retired from the professional circuit, but he will make his return tonight when Canberra Velocity takes on ATP Sydney in their inaugural appearance in the Asia Pacific Tennis League in Sydney.
Jones will join AIS scholarship holders Alex Bolt and Nick Kyrgios and local junior Andrew Zedde against a team of touring professionals in the NSW conference of the competition.
''Since I stopped, I haven't played whatsoever - I actually played one doubles tournament and that's it, so yeah, it's going to be my first outing in a while,'' Jones said.
Jones was no slouch on the court, he took a set off second seed Rafael Nadal in the first round of the 2007 US Open, and had a career-high world ranking of 123, but it hasn't stopped his hard-hitting younger teammates from the occasional sledge.
''The younger generation they seem to be about a foot taller than us now, so they do have bigger serves than we do,'' the 32-year-old Jones said.
''It's not going to be easy for myself against some of these young guys, but my biggest concern is my fitness and my lack of match play.''
Jones has been training top juniors at the National Tennis Centre in Lyneham for the past few years with Damien Ward, who will be the reserve for the Velocity tonight, and he has some inside knowledge on the competition.
''I actually used to play against a couple of them [Adam Feeney and Nick Lindahl] quite often.''
With the top two teams in each conference to go through to the finals, a win is not crucial tonight, but the Velocity will be looking for home court advantage come the weekend when they take on the National Academy NSW AUStars and the Hunter Raworth Tigers on the Lyneham clay courts.
''[Clay] wasn't my favourite surface when I was playing, I preferred the quicker surface.
''I had a slog out yesterday, and I was hitting it ok, but the lungs were burning the entire time,'' Jones said.