The off-court juggling act

Leading players ramp up pre-tournament commitments, while preparing for Australian Open.

Garbine Muguruza, National Tennis Centre, 12 January 2017.

Launching a bra and testing your skills against a swag of star athletes at a charity gala may be polar opposite off-court ventures for a pair of six-time Australian Open champions.

For Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, though, it is all part of the pre-tournament commitments they will juggle with all the usual stretching, hitting and gym sessions on the eve of the first major for 2017.

Few master the juggling act better than the two most winning players of recent years.

Williams hit Rod Laver Arena within hours of touching down in Melbourne on Friday night, after an earlier than expected defeat in Auckland.

Sister Venus also flew in from across the ditch before the pair teamed up to welcome more than 380 Australian Open ballkids on Tuesday.

Serena upped her promotional commitments a notch on Thursday night, getting her groove on to lead a dance class in line with her new Berlei sports bra campaign video.

Only a night prior, a miked-up Djokovic hosted A Night with Novak on Margaret Court Arena, where he put his sporting prowess to the test against rising German player Alexander Zverev, cricketers Shane Warne, Meg Lanning and Aaron Finch, Australian rugby league captain Cam Smith, netball champion Sharelle McMahon, AFL player Max Gawn and soccer star Archie Thompson.

GALLERY: A Night with Novak

They are off-court routines, not limited to only the most prolific champions.

After Rafael Nadal, Bernard Tomic and Dominic Thiem had their respective Brisbane campaigns ended they joined Nick Kyrgios for a Fast4 exhibition event in Sydney before continuing on to Melbourne.

With players still competing in warm-up events at Kooyong, in Sydney, Hobart and Auckland, others were taking time away from the practice courts to launch their respective clothing or racquet ranges.

Nishikori and Williams unveiled their respective new Wilson racquets on Thursday night, with Aussie young guns Destanee Aiava and Jaimee Fourlis joining them.

UNICEF ambassador Andy Murray hit with refugee children at the Langham Hotel, as part of an initiative to introduce them to the game, while Milos Raonic tested out his footy skills with Melbourne Demons AFL captain Nathan Jones on the hallowed MCG as part of an announcement extending his New Balance sponsorship deal.

After a pair of early defeats in Brisbane and Sydney, defending women’s champion and world No.1 Angelique Kerber donned the red, orange and white with world No.4 Simona Halep, French Open champion Garbine Muguruza and Japanese youngster Naomi Osaka to lead a tennis-inspired group workout at the National Tennis Centre.

Stay posted. Former champions Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will be juggling their own off-court and practice schedules. Who says a Grand Slam is only about the tennis?

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