Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why Tennis Player's Olympic Preparations can be somewhat Different to other Olympic Sports

For many athletes the preparation for the 2008 Olympics started 4 years ago.They hope to peak right at the time of Competition in Beijing for their particular sport.For tennis players especially among the the World's Best, Grandslams are their main focus and "peaking" for these are priority.Tennis this year has attracted a strong field, Of the top 20 men, 17 will compete in Beijing; and there will be 18 of the top 20 women.Who does remember who wins Olympic tennis medals?. Who can remember that Stefan Edberg won the bronze medal in 1988 or that the Williams sisters won doubles gold in Sydney, or that Mardy Fish won the silver medal in Athens 2004?And Nicolas Massu won gold in the Men's at the last games.For many athletes going to the games they are still truly amateurs in their representative sport compared to their
"elite" tennis counterparts. Whilst many are hoping that the Federer/Nadal rivalry will continue in Beijing,the tennis players really enjoy an atmosphere that is unique to them, standing along side of the other Worlds best Athletes is a moment they will remember, and this moment may be the highlight many are looking for and the medals at the end may all seem insignificant to winning a Grandslam . Look for upsets and punters beware.Read what the Irish Times has to say about big time sports at the Olympics

Monday, July 28, 2008

If Nadals Not the Best Player in the World at the moment! Who is?

Highlights Of Nadal beating Kiefer in Toronto Masters Final

The Key To Success

All sports fight for the "dollars" ,funding is a crucial element of any sporting organization.One of the biggest hurdle is spending the "money" in area's that will increase 1.Participation and 2.Making your sport a success on a National and International scale.An even balance must be achieved never forgetting the grass route levels but also spending the money correctly at the top also.One of the wealthiest national body's are the LTA
England and they have been under achievers for many years considering the amount of funds they have in the "coffers".Not long ago, Brad Gilbert was paid a reputed £750,000 a year by the LTA to coach Andy Murray, making him the only player on the ATP Tour to have his coach paid for by a nation’s governing body.The all star coaching team amassed by the LTA goes beyond Gilbert. There is Paul Annacone, the former coach to Pete Sampras and Tim Henman; Carl Maes, who guided Kim Clijsters to the top of the women’s game; Nigel Sears, an Englishman who has worked with Amanda Coetzer and Daniela Hantuchova; Steve Martens, the former Belgium Davis Cup captain; Jens Gerlach, coach to Anastasia Myskina when she won the French Open; and Martin Bohm, who once worked with many of the top Swedes and Greg Rusedski.Educated guesses are that the LTA are spending £2.5m a year at the top end and very little at the bottom end.What Tennis New Zealand could do with that sort of money it equates to over $6 million nz. Tony Hawks a journalist has led recently through the newspaper a push highlighting the need for money to be spent wisely and more evenly through the system.You can read his articles at and also .Here in New Zealand junior players wanting to succeed at tennis face a huge financial commitment.A promising junior with a high national ranking in New Zealand can expect to be facing a budget such as this.Equipment:includes rackets,shoes,balls,and attire $1000 Coaching:includes lessons,Fitness training and camps $7280
Competition:includes travel,hotel and entry fee's $8650 so a yearly total is around $16,930.00. Elite juniors face these figures,and the fact is that too get better Tennis players at this level cannot do it just in New Zealand itself.I'm sure that if funding was available more players at this level would stay in the sport and improve New Zealands World standing. At the moment for a junior wanting to do well internationally in New Zealand the "Key to success" is dollars. Your comments would be appreciated .

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ITF Weekly Round Up

This week's results we start at the South African Airways Junior ITF 2008 Grade 2 .The boys event result was Ashley WATLING (GBR) (8) defeated Liang-Chi HUANG (TPE) (5) 6-4 6-1 link to results here New Zealanders participating Riki MCLACHLAN (R1) loss to Alexander BULL (GBR) ,Ben MCLACHLAN (R1) loss to Japie DE KLERK (RSA) and Logan MACKENZIE (R1) loss to Pieter BECKER (RSA).The girls event was won by Chanel SIMMONDS (RSA) (4) defeated Polina VINOGRADOVA (RUS) (7) 6-3 6-1 .Results.Brussels International Junior Tournament 2008 Grade 5 The boys results Florian FALLERT (GER) defeated Benjamin DEVOS (BEL) 7-5 6-3 Link and the girls event Laura BERNARD (BEL) defeated Elke LEMMENS (BEL) 7-5 6-4 Full resultsInternational Flower Bulb Tournament 2008 Grade 5 Netherlands Boys results David THOMSON (GBR) (1) defeated Scott GRIEKSPOOR (NED) (5) 6-1 6-4 Link The Girls event Bernice VAN DE VELDE (NED) defeated Andrea KA (FRA) 6-2 6-3 Results14th Junior Open der Stadt Wel2008
Boys results David GOFFIN (BEL) (1) defeated Arthur DE GREEF (BEL) 6-4 6-1 Link and the girls Lesley KERKHOVE (NED) (1) defeated Sandra ROMA (SWE) (12) 3-6 6-3 6-2 ResultsEgypt International Championships Grade 5 Boys winner Ramy KAMAL AITA (EGY) defeated Vinay KAMINENI (IND) (3) 6-3 6-1 Link and the girls Nour ABBES (TUN) (2) defeated Fareda MOHAMED SAYED (EGY) 6-0 6-0 Results

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Girl 8 kicked out from Tennis Tournament

Who would of thought the age of "high tech" coaching would surface in a 10 and under girls singles event in Christchurch New Zealand.An eight-year-old tennis player was kicked out of a Canterbury tournament for receiving instructions via a hidden ear-piece.It was reported that a receiver was concealed under a thick headband. The Tournament referee Rob Wilkinson said that "it was noticed Ana's game had a "heightened degree of questioned calls".The receiver was similar to a rugby referee's earpiece with a box at the base of the back and a cord under the shirt up to the earpiece and headband.
It was the girl's first tournament.The father of the 8 year old said he was only helping his daughter keep the score..I feel sympathy to the junior girl player who would not have known the consequences of what was happening , I must ask in Round Robin event was it nesssary to withdraw the 8 year old from the tournament? The father should have been "pulled aside" and explained this was not acceptable to penalize the girl was "harsh" to say the least.Believe me a 10 and under event in Christchurch is not the WTA tour and whilst officials will say there was little they could do there must of been another way to handle this. I mean what ever the "father was saying via the reciever it wasnt helping ,her scorline was 1-9,1-6,6-4,0-6 before she was withdrawn.Leave a comment was this a harsh ruling? or was the referee correct in this decision.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Kids on the Block

Not every one makes the Transition of Top Ranked ITF Junior to Top Ranked ATP or WTA.Many talented youngsters are indeed playing on the men's and woman's circuits and not the junior circuit.Tennis is now truly a Global sport and looking at the top 20 in The Boys and Girls shows you just how true this is.Maybe a future grandslam winner will come from one of these ranked juniors. The Boys Top 20 is as follows:

1 YANG, Tsung-Hua TPE
2 TOMIC, Bernard AUS
3 BERANKIS, Ricardas LTU
8 CUNHA, Henrique BRA
10 GOFFIN, David BEL
11 AREVALO, Marcelo ESA
15 STEBE, Cedrik-Marcel GER
17 KLAHN, Bradley USA
18 RUFIN, Guillaume FRA

The top New Zealand boy is Logan Mackenzie who is ranked 108.
The Girls are similar and showing again how global the game is.Two interesting rankings of note are Robson Great Britain , her parents are Australian but did move to England when Laura was very young. It was interesting that her British Passport was only granted a few weeks before Junior Wimbledon , of course Robson went on to win this event, and Joanna Konta the number 12 ranked junior girl although listed as Australian has been in the UK for a number of years and by all accounts will also gain a British passport. My Niece Gabrielle Grady had a few battles with Konta in the 10s age group in Australia.

1 RUS, Arantxa NED
2 HALEP, Simona ROU
3 OUDIN, Melanie USA
9 NARA, Kurumi JPN
10 LYKINA, Ksenia RUS
12 KONTA, Johanna AUS
13 HERCOG, Polona SLO
16 KUCOVA, Kristina SVK
18 HENDLER, Tamaryn BEL
20 MOORE, Jessica AUS

The highest ranked New Zealander is Sacha Jones at 165. Jones of course is playing more WTA events and currently playing World Team Tennis. ITF junior events are certainly a breeding ground for future champions but by no means a guarantee that the transgression to the senior tour is a foregone conclusion.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tennis battle switches from "court" to courtroom"

Next Monday a battle that is going to make or break the ATP looms in a court room.“I don’t think the players realize the seriousness of it,” said Bob Bryan, a former member of the ATP’s Player Council, who, with his twin, Mike, is ranked No. 2 in the world in doubles. “Financially, it would be a killer. It could really cripple the ATP. Potentially it maybe could dissolve the ATP.”The case pits the German tennis federation against the ATP, which is aggressively trying to restructure its tour. The case has shaken up the wealthy, tight-knit world of men’s professional tennis with charges of pay offs and witness tampering. Read the full report from the New York times.

South Canterbury 12s Rankings

Boys :

1 1385 S6 1570 Darling, Elliot
2 2911 S8 1115 Race, Henry
3 3005 S8 1090 Darling, Lawrence
4 3472 S8 1020 Lane, Sam
5 4289 S9 0850 Hooke, Jordan
6 5316 S9 0685 Gibson, Jack
7 5853 S10 0570 Wigley, Robbie
8 6707 S10 0425 Beck, Adam
9 6969 S11 0385 Kempf, Samuel
10 7030 S11 0375 Beck, Liam


1 2327 S8 0915 Ellis, Annabel
2 3240 S9 0665 Lamb, Charlotte
3 3750 S10 0505 Grant, Olivia
4 3925 S10 0475 Race, Amelia
5 4057 S10 0450 Peattie, Monique
6 4096 S10 0440 Cochrane, Anna
7 4192 S10 0420 Thompson, Toni
8 4414 S11 0380 Bleeker, Gretchen
9 4993 S11 0290 Davenport, Libby
10 5211 S11 0265 Lee, Gabby

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Player Watch

Michelle Larcher de Brito , put that name in your diary. In the Bank of the West Classic last week she lead Serena Williams 6-4 and 2-0 in the second set before Williams rallyed to win the last two sets 6-3 6-2.De Brito is 15 and native of Portugal, she is another junior whose family, moved to the United States to attend the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida when she was 9 years old.She was coached by Nick Bollettieri till the end of 2007. Currently she is training full time with her father.

Michelle played in the ITF Junior circuit from August, 2006 to December, 2007, managing to win three singles tournaments. In Grand-Slam tournaments, she made it to the singles quarterfinals of the 2007 French Open and the doubles quarterfinals of the 2007 Wimbledon Championships. She won her last tournament, the 2007 Orange Bowl, becoming, at 14 years, 10 months and 11 days, the second youngest champion of the event's history after Nicole Vaidišová. She was also the youngest player ever to win the U-16 Eddie Herr Championship (in 2005 when she was 12).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

South Canterbury Rankings - Courtesy of Top Dog

One of the great features of Top Dog is to go in and see your rankings , in your age group, nationally or Locally so with the summer approaching I thought I would post the current state of affairs. I have only listed the top 10 in each division starting with Open.If you haven't checked out the Top Dog Page make sure you visit the Tennis New Zealand Site .Just click on the highlighted text.

1 247 S4 2240 Kretschmann, Jarron
2 507 S5 1970 Dries, Steven
3 850 S6 1765 Wigley, George
4 896 S6 1740 Slater, Guy
5 1057 S6 1675 Allan, William
6 1293 S6 1605 Murray, Peter
7 1311 S6 1600 Ammar, Ryan
8 1385 S6 1570 Darling, Elliot
9 1385 S6 1570 Jones, Les
10 1744 S7 1415 Gibson, George

1 50 S3 2650 Grady, Gabrielle
2 56 S3 2615 Grady, Lisa
3 330 S5 1955 Grady, Kirsty
4 524 S6 1790 Robinson, Jamie
5 588 S6 1715 Robinson, Jacqui
6 811 S6 1575 Robinson, Margot
7 858 S6 1535 Prisk, Geraldine
8 990 S7 1445 Emond, Irene
9 1053 S7 1410 Ecroyd, Annabelle
10 1350 S7 1285 Ammar, Sara

OK that's the Open Section Posted over the next week I will have all the junior age groups posted. Some interesting viewing . The first column is your local ranking the second your national,the third is your grading and the 4Th is your accumulated points that determines your first three.

ITF Weekly Round Up- World

Lets start close to home In Darwin Grade 3 Jarryd Chaplin ( Aus) defeated Ben Mitchell( Aus)6-3 7-5. Jarryd's Mother was a former top ranking Australian Female player Amanda Tobin.Girls Singles Mia Vriens(Aus) def Monica Wejnert(Aus)6-3 3-6 6-2.Kiwi's in the draw Amelia Harris(QTF)Tuscany Hamel R64,Leela Beattie R64.The full draw at this link.Kiwi Boys, Barret Franks(SF)James Meridith R16 ,Jordan Kelly-Houston(SF)view the boys draw hereIn Auckland ITF Grade 4 Finn Tearney def Trent O'KEEFFE 6-1 2-6 6-3 .Boys results hereIn the Girls Tanya SAMODELOK (RUS) (1) defeated Briar PRESTON (3) 6-4 6-7(1) 6-4 .Results here.The ITF Leeuwenbergh G4 Netherlands Boys singles, Ashot KHACHARYAN (RUS) (2) defeated Alexander VAN GILS (GER) (12) 6-3 6-1 Full results here.The Girls singles saw Anna Arina MARENKO (RUS) (1) defeated Bernice VAN DE VELDE (NED) 4-6 6-4 6-1 Results The German Junior Open 2008 Grade 1Andrey KUZNETSOV (RUS) (4) defeated Adrien PUGET (FRA) (9) 6-2 6-3

Personal note the Number 1 seed for this event Karim-Mohamed MAAMOUN (EGY) comes from an Egypt tennis Family who I became friends with when I coached in Cairo.The Girls event result was Sandra ROMA (SWE) (7) defeated Alexandra DAMASCHIN (ROU) (2) 6-1 6-2 . ResultsSally Peers from Australia reached the qtfs.

Over in Greece at the ITF Corfu Cup Grade 5 The winner of the boys singles was Dominik MATOUSEK (CZE) (3) defeated Pier BISBIKOS (GRE) (2) 2-6 6-3 6-2 .Result Link.The results of the Girls event was Ksenia GOSPODINOVA (RUS) (8) defeated Katharina MORTH (AUT) (1) 1-6 7-5 6-2 .Link Grade 4 St.Maarten Juniors Open 2008 in the Netherlands Christopher DIAZ-FIGUEROA (GUA) (2) defeated Yasutaka UCHIYAMA (JPN) (3) 6-3 6-1 Results and the girls results Sachia VICKERY (USA) (2) defeated Laura-Alicia AGUILAR (MEX) (1) 3-6 6-2 7-5 ,Full results .Scottish Junior International Championships 2008Grade 5 Benedict CALNAN (GBR) defeated Marc WESTGATE (GBR) 6-1 6-1 ResultsThe Girls event Samantha VICKERS (GBR) (5) defeated Valeria OSADCHENKO (SWE) 6-4 7-5 Link

Tournaments in progress
24th Damascus International Junior Tournament G4 Syria
Scottish Junior International Championships 2 G4 Great Britain
7th AOTK TwigaCup G4 Estonia
ITF Jamaica Junior Tournament G4 Jamaica
airberlin Junior Open G4 Germany
14th Junior Open der Stadt Wels G1 Austria
International Flower Bulb Tournament G4 Netherlands
Brussels International Junior Tournament G5 Belgium
South African Airways Junior ITF G2 South Africa
Ex Pilsen Wilson Cup G3 Czech Republic

Ben and Riki McLachlan are in South Africa Competing . A Full round up of these tournaments next Sunday.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Nadal/Federer 5th Set Back By Popular demand


Sam Lane defeated Ben Muller
6-4 6-1 to win the Auckland 12s "Powerade" Boys singles title today.Muller unleashed some huge forehands in the first set but Lane kept to a "game" plan staying away as much as possible from the forehand side.After a close first set Lane played solid tennis to wrap up the second set 6-1. A feature today was Lane's serve allowing him gain control of the initial rally.Lane also reached the final recently of the North Habour event.The experience will no doubt help Lane and by playing lots of matches sets him up for a busy summer schedule.Well done Sam.Part of Junior Devlelopment is playing tournaments , win or lose they are important steps in your tennis pathway.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lane Powers into Final

Lane defeated the 3rd Seed Matej Minic 6-1 6-4. Play was taken inside with rain in Auckland Today. Lane won the first set comfortably but lost concentration in the 2nd Set which he closed out 6-4.Lane meets unseeded Ben Muller in the final.Muller has had a winning record against the seeds,Lane will try and stop this in tomorows final.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lane Continues Winning Way

Sam Lane won his quarter final in the Auckland Powerade 12 Boys Singles 6-0 6-2 defeating Nicholas Johanson.Lane made very few unforced errors , being more patient constructing and then finishing the rally.Lane plays his semi final tomorrow.

Rankings -Can any one get it right

Tennis New Zealand use the Top Dog system for rankings and gradings.I certainly have warmed to certain aspects of this system, however the talk amongst the "people" it still falls short in a few area's . Originally designed to entice people to play it has a reverse effect in some players attitude, especially amongst junior players and parents.There are no perfect systems and there are changes in the ATP and WTA in points and scheduling for next year, click on the highlighted text and read the article change is vital.Making sure the top players play the top events are important and this is one area Top Dog and Tennis New Zealand need to address. There is a battle now between Federer and Nadal for the number 1 spot in men's tennis if the Top Dog system was used here smart Rodger would just not play because he has a lots of points , more rewards in the Top Dog system goes on a head to head structure and Nadal would only get maximum points when beating Federer.By not playing protects rankings hardly an ideal scenario.I also worry about where Top Dog
originated and it came from squash(locally) and then Auckland tennis started using the system in 1997. There are many great features of "Top Dog" but no other Tennis Playing Nation has jumped on the bandwagon to make it their ranking system. I wrote an article when top dog was first introduced, and I am republishing some relevant points It would be great to get some feed back on positive aspects and the things you may think needs addressing.This link will give you the "nuts and bolts" on calculating your points with top dog.Are you disadvantaged where you live? Please post a comment it will be interesting to hear points of views.Here are some of the points I made in the article The LTA (England) developed a new system to run along side their rating system they said "The rankings system we have developed is a ‘points per round’ system based on tournament performance irrespective of opponent. This is the format most commonly used by other countries and the International Tennis Federation (ITF)".Not currently true of Top Dog.They went on to say "Our Juniors when ready to play ITF tournaments , satellites, futures , leading to major tournaments will be judged performance wise on points per round formats .This is the type of tournament based system we need in place.

By adopting a tiered competitive structure we can give weight to different events and put the emphasis on advancing through the draw irrespective of the opponent." Makes common sense doesn't it? Now I currently sit on 500 plus top dog points, if i go out and beat a junior say in the 16 year age group and on a better Top Dog Grading it could impact how they sit in their age group? Losing to me would take points off them and also change their national ranking in their age this correct? comments please!Here are some more points the LTA went on to say It is also proven that a point by round system allows players and coaches to recognise the level and strength of an event and understand the ranking impact of success within any graded tournament. This in turn provides tangible and measurable goals for the player and allows the coach and player to formulate a competitive schedule that reflects the players’ long-term Development Plan
i/e Tier 1 tournaments should be rewarded with more points
and of course Tier 3 and 4 tournaments would be less and so they should be,
but are an integral part of the system because these tournaments should not attract consistently your elite players but should encourage participation and the quest for improvements by our development players!

Here are some more points that are listed on the LTA web Site about Rankings and why the points system is encouraged

· It is aspirational, allowing players to see where they sit within their peer group.

· It supports a simple grading and points structure that remains consistent throughout all age groups. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT

· It encourages competitors to play up an age group when they are ready, without it having a negative impact on their ranking within their own age group

· Ranking by age groups supports international practice and the ITF and Tennis Europe age groups.

· Adult competition consists predominantly of non-ranking events.

Ie/Playing adults with high ranking or lower rankings should not effect a national ranking, but it will under Top Dog . Local match play and Inter club, again not tournament based should not effect points in any way in a junior age group.Now the USTA has this to say about developing there system "The USTA believes it is imperative to have a system that our players can readily comprehend and that encourages them to structure their schedules to address the key elements of player development. After considerable research, the High Performance Division and the Youth Competition and Training Committee have concluded that a version of a points-based ranking system best addresses the specific objectives identified above and the overall goal of helping players reach their potential. By using tiered levels of importance we can weigh our events, assign regulations that help our juniors to compete often, and put the emphasis on advancing through the draw. The simple concept of having a player capable of categorizing an event, determining its level, and understanding the ranking impact of success in that event allows the player to understand what needs to be done. This is an invaluable asset in developing tangible and measurable goals that also help the player’s preparation and motivation." It would be great to hear from other tennis playing nations on their junior ranking system.

Look no rankings system is perfect this we all know but i do think the honor an reason why to play certain events needs to be reintroduced to the Current local junior players.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ellis "Romps" into Final

Annabel Ellis defeated Natasha Dickison 6-0 6-0 in the Semi Final of the 12s Canterbury Junior. Dickison had no answer for Ellis's power game.Ellis will play Chezle Phillips the top seed in tomorrow's final.Sam Lane continued his winning way in the Powerade Auckland Junior winning 6-0 6-0. Lane will play a quarter final match tomorrow.Robbie Wigley was defeated in his 1st round match in the 12s boys Canterbury by Hamish Rae 6-0 6-3.He won his next consolation match against M. Bu in an epic winning in a third set super tie break 6-3;1-6;(10-6))).

BREAKING NEWS : Ellis goes down in final 6-2 7-5 , Phillips attacking game was "on song" .Ellis fought hard in the second set and pushed the top seed all the way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Lane wins "tight" one in Auckland

Sam Lane won his first match in the Powerade Auckland Junior Tournament 7/6 7/6.
Lane was able to win the crucial points as both players fought hard for the win.In Christchurch Annabel Ellis continued her good form winning both matches today.Both players are in 12s age group.

The "unsung hero" The Coach

Coaching in any sport has its "highs and "lows". Its a roller coaster ride at times as all top coaches have experienced.Be too good at your job you create a "tall poppy" syndrome.Do to much and you can be seen as controlling and obsessive,do too little and you can be seen as not devoting enough time ,getting the correct balance is very hard as a coach to get right.Tennis is such an individual sport and at times coaches need to devote more time to their players than others,as a player rises in rankings so does the commitment of the coach.At times the coach has to be a Physcologist,physiotherapist,nutritionist,surrogate parent and a friend.What Degree gives you these specialist attributes?.Then not only does the coach have to deal with the players its the parents also that sometime require special attention.A good coach will always be brave enough to tell their players and parents some things they don't want to hear.Coaches roles should aways bare this quote in mind "We cannot map peoples lives in advance but much can be done to make desirable outcomes more likely.Acquiring high abilities is one such outcome.We can and should act to make it happen more often.The individualism of the sport certainly does not help and each player you coach requires different needs and skills,each players mental and physical make up has its uniqueness and a good coach will be able to use this to their advantage in shaping their player.Look at the contrast of players in the Men's Final at Wimbledon Federer is certainly not a Nadal and Nadal is not a Federer.Good coaches need to identify 1.Traits in personality and 2. physical prowess and limitations. Its with interest I read the interview with Antoni Nadal ( uncle Tony) who refuses to take a pay check from his nephew and player Rafael Nadal and this is part what he has to say why he doesn't "If I earn money from him then he becomes my boss. For the player and for me it is much better that the player is not my boss. I think sometimes the problem with these guys is that they are the boss. "When his father told me 'you must do this' I told him I didn't want anything, because I want to be able to say what I want." and this quote "I worked on Sunday, Christmas day, if it is raining I go 50km to train elsewhere. Another coach maybe not do this .Its a very interesting interview, click on the highlighted link and you can read the interview from the Sport.scotsman

14s Nationals Indoor Wrap Up

This event finished yesterday in Christchurch.Prisk and English lost a third set super tie break in their semi final match up to Coates - Vos (1) 4-6;6-3;10-7.Too much play was directed at Vos and this proved a deciding factor in the loss.The Canterbury team of Maoate - Williamson (2) went on to win the final 6-2 6-1.The boys singles final was an all Canterbury match up with Thomas Batt defeating Finbar Argus in the Final 6-3;6-2 .Lawrence Darling had a win in the Boys' 14 Singles West Draw defeating H.Ward in the final 6-4 6-2. Darling had scrapped though a tough three setter in the Semi Finals 1-6;6-2;6-4 .Not taking anything away from the winners but this event lacked many of the top juniors and the event was somewhat disappointing for a National event, unless events like these are supported, giving the event National Title status must be questioned.Across the Tasman Elliot Darling and partner Ben Johnston( Cant) where defeated 8-3 in the Semi's of the 12s Rod Laver Boys Doubles.South Canterbury players last year took out 3 titles and a runner -up at this event.Tournaments commencing in Auckland and Christchurch this week with Annabel Ellis,George Wigley ,Robbie Wigley and Sam Lane in action.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New ITF Book to promote Tennis at the Olympics

The International Tennis Federation has announced the release of a new book to promote the Beijing Olympics. According to the ITF,the publication features a series of specially commissioned photographs of the game’s top names dressed as athletes from other summer or winter Olympic sports. These are accompanied by interviews with the players talking about their Olympic memories and hopes for Beijing.The photographs were taken over a six-month period by some of the world’s leading tennis photographers, with photo shoots held in venues as varied as Barcelona, Beijing, Dubai, Indian Wells, Los Angeles, Miami, Melbourne, Moscow, Netherlands, Palm Beach, Santiago, Shanghai and Tel Aviv.Its well worth a look.Just click on the highlighted text.

Being pushed Too Early

Only time can tell if the right decisions are made in ones career. Hindsight is a great gift but it is often bestowed on us far to late.Valuable lesson's are often learned way to late.Tennis is a high pressured sport and lots of hard work and dedication must be made by the athlete.Only a very few juniors come through the system to be ranked in the top 50.Much of this drive unfortunately comes from parents and they can make bad choices or place too much pressure on their child at an early age.Remember child prodigy Andrea Jaeger she lost a Wimbledon Final to Martina Navratolova in '83 when only 16. She started on the women's circuit when 14.With now early retirements to Justine Henin, Hingis and Clijsters its with interest to read the Jaeger story.Jaeger who had the tennis World at her feet is now a nun,During an interview recently with the Daily Mail she had this to say : "It's very difficult having any parent be your coach because you lose the parental side."Dad was German-bred and people growing up in Germany in Dad's era had a different form of discipline. He grew up being beaten by a belt. He wanted to teach me morals and values."Click on the highlighted text for the full story.

Prisk Goes Down in Semi Final National 14s Indoor

In a semi final showdown against the top seed Christine Vos Christine Vos (North Harbour) Vos had too much power against the Timaru left hander. Some great rally's but in the end the weight of shot from top seed was the difference,Prisk going down 6-2 6-2. Geraldine will be again in action later today in the doubles semi's.In Auckland Sam Lane was defeated b A.Hafezi 6-0 6-0 in the final of the 12 boys 2008 July Indoor Singles Open at North Harbour.Earlier Sam defeated Nick Johnson 6-2 6-3 in the semi's.Lane played much tighter tennis in both matches using his forehand to dominate play.In the Final Hafezi was able to run every thing down that Lane through at him and subsequently forced Lane into the error.I'm sure Lane takes some valuable lessons learned into his next Auckland tournament

Friday, July 11, 2008

Final Wimbledon Summary

All tennis writers around the world acknowledge the Nadal / Federer final was probably the greatest men's final in History. The Press Democrat welcomed a great rivalry, whilst Ray McNulty wrote about the change in grass at Wimbledon over of the last few years.The Khaleej Times online said a new dominance was about to take place and the Telegraph Calcutta touched on the jealousy from tour players and former players with Venus Williams beating sister Serena.And Rafael Nadal had time to write a Daily Blog for a London Tabloid. Great reading to see how the days spanned out for the champ.Just click on the highlighted text and that will take you to each article.

Prisk into Semi's Of 14's Indoors

Geraldine Prisk won her quarter final match against Sian English, OT 6-1;6-3 . Prisk lost momentum in the second set allowing English to pull back to even ,Prisk again found her concentration to win the second.She will meet the top seed Christine Vos tomorrow.Prisk will have to be mentally at her very best for this match.Prisk will partner English in the Semi's again up
against the top seed.Prisk and English comfortably beat Crozier - English ( Sian's sister) in the quarters.Lawrence Darling had a bye in his consolation singles event.In the North Island Sam Lane the top seed at North Harbour Indoor won his match 6-2 6-4. Sam will need to concentrate on lowering the unforced error stats for his next match.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Junior Wimbledon

The Brit's are celebrating, Robson is the first Briton to win the girls' title at Wimbledon since Annabel Croft won it at the age of 18 in 1984, but she retired from tennis just three years later. Robson is only 14 . Here's a link where you can read what Virginia Wade has to say on Robson. Wade was the last female Brit to win Wimbledon.The young British boys however need maybe a course on discipline as another round of suspensions have hit the junior development program as reported in the Daily Mail. Just click on the highlighted text and you will be able to read both story's. Discipline is an important component of any sport.Many players/juniors cannot see the bigger picture and reward themselves for an achievement. The smart player is the one that knows that there will be many achievements but are all stepping stones to a better player.

14 National Indoors

The 14/u Indoor Winter Nationals at the Scenic Circles Tennis Centre in Christchurch got underway today.Geraldine Prisk defeated Chezle Phillips, CB 6-0;6-0 .Phillips who has been out of action for a period found Prisk too tough in all departments. Prisk was relentless not letting her opponent on the scoreboard. Next up for Prisk is Sian English, OT who defeated Mimi Crozier, CB 6-0;6-1. Prisk will start favourite for this match. Lawrence Darling was defeated in his first match by Adam Hornby CB 6-3 6-3. In the North Harbour Indoor junior at Auckland Sam Lane the top seed for the 12s boys received a bye today and will play his first match tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ellis Wins South Island Girls Singles Title

Annabel Ellis defeated Gabriela Coates ( Cant) 6-0 6-1 in the Final of the 12 Girls South Island singles final held in Dunedin today. Earlier Ellis defeated Natasha Dickson 6-0 6-0 to remain undefeated in her Pool. Coates had no answer to Ellis's power. Annabel's serving was a strong point of her game never allowing Gabriela to gain control from her returns. The win for Ellis will
be a confidence boost for the Canterbury tournament starting next week. Geraldine Prisk showed much improvement in her game today against rival South Canterbury's Greer Lane. Prisk played the big points better and regained some rhythm in her serve to win 6-4 6-1. Lane played well in the first set however fell away under the pressure of Prisk's consistency. Geraldine finished runner-up to Brittany Wong. In the Semi Final play offs for the 12s today Lawrence Darling was defeated by Conor Heap 6-2 4-6 6-3. Unforced errors for Darling at crucial times proved costly.Sam Lane was defeated 6-2 6-3 by Trent Smith in a close two sets, Lane had his chances but Smith came up with some pressure plays when it mattered. Conor Heap went on to win the event defeat Smith in 3 sets. All South Canterbury players received vital match play as they all play various events around the country next week and will be better off for this hit out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

South Island Junior Indoors Get Underway

Play commenced today in the South Island Indoors held in Dunedin.
South Canterbury Players had a mixed day in the 12s and 14s age groups.Annabel Ellis won her two singles matches to day Defeating Sarah Allan convincingly 6-0 6-2 and then defeated Laura Overton 6-4 6-2. This division is round robin and sets Ellis up to win her pool.The boys 12s saw Sam Lane and Lawrence Darling win preliminary rounds to qualify them for the Semi Final Round Robin Play offs.Sam Lane d. Ben Black 6-0;6-0 and Lloyd McGee 6-1;6-3 but Lost his 1st round robin Semi Final Match to Connor Heap 6-0 6-3. Heap's consistency was the key forcing Lane to make the error early in the rally. Lane fought back to 3-4 in the second but again was not patient enough and tried to finish the point too early.Darling defeated Henry Hodgson 6-4 6-1 in his first round.Darling's weight of shot and experience proved the difference. In his first semi final match Darling's consistency was lacking as Trent Smith from the North Island scored a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory. Both Lane and Darling get the chance to improve their standings when they play their next pool match tomorrow. Both boys will need to stay in the rally a lot more and try to get early control to have any chance of a win in their next match. Samuel Kempf played well winning 1 of his three matches in the first round he was defeated by Connor Heap 6-1 6-2 and then won his consolation match against Cameron Tillotson 6-0 7-5.He was then defeated by Henry Hailes 6-4 6-2. In the 14 Girls singles Greer Lane lost her first Pool Match to Otago's Brittany Wong 6-4 6-1.Wong's improved aggressiveness was the difference as Lane was a little short on match play. Lane then won her next mach against Courtney Hume 6-1 7-6. Geraldine Prisk made short work of Hume in her first match 6-0 6-1 and in a surprise was the defeated by Wong 6-2 6-2. Wong controlled most of the rally's and Prisk struggled with her serve the entire match. The big lesson for the players today was to try to change a losing game, too many of the players today gave little thought in changing tactics in their matches. Good Lessons have been taught the old saying " you learn more from a losing game than you do from a winning game" can be taken as a positive as we move towards day 2.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wimbledon Mens Final "May the Best Man Win"

Roger Federer if he wins this years final against Rafael Nadal will go down as a truley Wimbledon Great. For the past 5 years he has owned this event but just as Borg was defeated finally by McEnroe, this years final will be Roger's hardest battle. Nadal came close last year, surely he has learnt from that encounter where he pushed Federer to the 5th set. Its a classic match up Federer has more of a grass court game, but Borg showed us if your good enough you will win on any surface. Nadal has improved his serve, will this be a key to winning the final.Nadal has a winning "head to head" 11-6 ,his last win be it on clay was a complete demolition of Federer. Mind games will play a large part in determining
the result.Federer had a nervous first set against Hewitt ,Nadal will prove more than a challenge , Federer could over power Hewitt, I doubt the same can be said for Nadal. Although he wont admit it the record of winning 6 successive Wimbledon men's singles will play on his mind, Nadal has nothing to lose he can go for "broke" there's no pressure on him .This extra burden that Federer will take into the final may be the telling point. Roger is aware of history and he will have to play the match of his life to keep the "Spanish bull" from holding the trophy aloft. Here's some statistics that may be relevant for the final. Nadal is in the top 10 of first serve percentages however is not in the top 10 in winning points from 1st serves, Federer is, Nadal however leads the tour on points won on second serves .Roger Federer is 3rd on the tour with percentage of serves won.Nadal has the best percentage on tour in returning and winning against first serves.Nadal is fitter faster and stronger ,If Both Men play to their potential it will be truly an outstanding Wimbledon Final. In the end Federer has more to lose than Nadal and I think we will have a new Mens title holder. If the fed express prevails he deserves the label of Wimbledons greatest mens champion . For lot's of good information check out the Wimbledon Site.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Winter Tournament Schedule Begins

I will be attending the South Island Junior Indoor Champs Held
at the Edgar Center , Dunedin. South Canterbury will have Sam
and Greer Lane, Geraldine Prisk ,Annabelle Ellis , Sam Kempf and
Laurence Darling in Action. At this time of the year and with current
weather conditions the indoor venue is greatly appreciated.
I am sure there will be some great tennis over the 7th and 8th.
Other events to follow are the 14 and 16 nationals, tournaments
in Auckland,and of course Canterbury. Follow the results at