Elliot Loney has had a gift for impersonation since as far back as he can remember.
The Australian comedian/entertainer/impersonator/actor/writer/director/producer—so says his Facebook page—is known for his imitations of ATP stars, and especially Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
But before he had the tennis superstars down to a T, Loney did impressive imitations of those around him.
“Honestly, I’ve always had a bit of a knack for impersonations,” said Loney. “As far as I can remember, from the age of about four or five, I used to impersonate family members. Then, at school, I used to impersonate all my teachers and my friends. I’ve always done it. I think the first time I saw Rafael Nadal on TV, I just started speaking like him immediately. I’ve got a good ear for voices and stuff, but I’m terrible at math. I guess that’s my biggest quality.”
Loney, who has been doing impersonations and stand-up in Australia for the past five or six years, received an invitation from Tennis Canada to Rogers Cup—his first international contract—when the organization got wind of his viral videos.
“Basically, I did a Rafa Nadal video that went viral on social media,” explained Loney. “The very popular Facebook pages UNILAD and LADbible shared my video. Then Julie Gravel from Tennis Canada reached out to me, saying she saw my impersonations and thought it would be great if I came here and did some impersonations and stuff for the tournament’s social media. So that’s exactly how it came down. I asked her if she could fly me over and she said ‘yes’. Now I’m here and I’m enjoying it. It’s sick! Awesome!”
But it isn’t the first time that he’s attended a world-class tournament. Dressed as Nadal, right down to the hair and bandaged fingers, he managed to sneak into the 2013 Australian Open: “I’m a bit of a hustler. I started out doing YouTube videos and that’s how I got into comedy. So when it came to the Australian Open, I wasn’t exactly invited per say, but I did take my camera crew, snuck in there and just filmed myself running around the grounds as Rafa.”
His stint in Melbourne and hard work since garnered a lot of attention, eventually leading him to Rogers Cup. His time in Montréal has already paid off, especially since he’s been in contact with our southern neighbours.
“Initially, I was just going to go there and see what kind of opportunities I could hustle for myself and see if I could make anything happen over there, but as a result of some of the stuff that I’ve been doing here, I’ve been offered an opportunity over there. So hopefully that comes out good and I’m able to do some stuff in New York,” he explained.
Loney describes his North American tour as a great career opportunity that he hopes will propel him to new heights.
“All my life, I’ve looked up to all these tennis players,” said Loney. “I look up to Rafael Nadal, I look up to Roger Federer, I look up to Novak. They’re my heroes. To me, imitation is the biggest form of flattery and I hope they’re not offended by it because I would like nothing more than to do a video with Rafa or Federer. Getting that kind of exposure, doing a video with Rafa or Roger, I can’t ask for anything more. It’s just great stuff for my career. I’ve been developing my skillset for a long time and I really feel ready to take that next step in my career so hopefully someone sees this and gives me a shot because that’s all I want.”