Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sam Lane finally conquers Cantabrian Connor Heap to win South Canterbury 12s Spring Open

All players have a Nemesis that time after time they just cant get that win over,but having a Nemesis can create a goal and an incentive ,today Sam Lane defeated his Nemesis Connor Heap( Canterbury) 6-4 6-4 .Lane had lost to Heap numerous times but today finally turned the tables and recorded a well deserved victory.Lane went to a 3-1 lead in the first set playing aggressive controlled tennis before Heap won two games to level at 3-3.Lane again steadied and after some long rally's which both boys attacked when the opportunity arose Lane again went to a two game lead and 5-3, Lane went on to win the set 6-4.The second set started well for Lane winning the first game however Heap took advantage of a poor service game from Lane and went too a 4-2 lead and the match looked like heading for a third set.Lane however had other ideas as he retrieved well to keep the pressure on Heap and then his forehand started to find its range and soon it was 4-4 all.Lane took the next two games but had to play some great tennis to secure the set 6-4 and the match.Heap never gave in and continued to attack the ball on the rise for most of the match as did Lane,it certainly was a great match to have on number 1 court.Sam is pictured just after the win.It was a good tournament for other South Canterbury players which i will update in my next blog.Ryan Ammar convincingly won the 16s boys singles and no doubt used this event as a warm up to the stronger Canterbury 16s tournament to be played next week.Whilst his serving could of been better Ammar had a much more all round game to beat the Canterbury player Chris Read. Ryan is pictured below also after his win.The tournament was hampered by weather on the Saturday but Sunday provided perfect tennis weather

Thursday, September 25, 2008

South of the Border "down Mexico way"

Its a long way from Mexico but top player Hector garcia Aguilar has arrived in South Canterbury, Timaru.Hector is here for the summer and already top Juniors have benefited with some top class hitting.Pictured is left to right Geraldine Prisk , Hector and Gabrielle Grady. Top junior Elliot Darling is benefiting from hitting with Aguilar.Not only is Hector an experienced tennis player but has been known to have competed in the odd Bullfight.
Hector is from Irapuato, Mexico population of 600,000.Hector has played ITF and Futures and was top 10 in the 16 years age group.Hector whilst in the juniors won a national sportsman award , meeting and having breakfast with Rafael Nadal.Hector is also looking forward to competing whilst here, and his first tournament in New Zealand will be the 18s boys singles and doubles in the Canterbury Spring Open Christchurch.Hector will also be helping with some of the South Canterbury Coaching programs also.Regional Coach Stephen Dries says that having someone like Hector ,especially someone that has been brought up on claycourts will be of benefit to many of our top juniors.

Pictured with Hector Geraldine Prisk and Gabrielle Grady both have busy schedules in the School Holidays.Grady flys to Auckland Tomorow for Caro Bowl Matches ,playing for Auckland club Royal Oaks. She will also have the opportunity for some hard training whilst there with fellow team mates . Grady has returned from an injury suffered in Spain and is hitting the ball well.Prisk will be competing in the Canterbury Spring Open and is looking forward for the competition.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Summers Coming and we are ready!

Pleasant Point Juniors who have participated over winter in the South Canterbury Junior Tennis Program are excited that summer is now approaching and confident that keeping up their tennis skills over winter will play dividend. Pictured in the Back row left to right Henry Race, Patrick Lee's and Adam Beck and front is Amelia Race.Winter sports often take precedent over tennis which in New Zealand is a Summer Sport however the keen juniors who are excelling in the sport do keep up their play over winter with coaching and some tournament play where possible.

Today on Radio Sport an interesting conversation was held about Men's Tennis in New Zealand and of course the defeat by China over New Zealand in Davis Cup Play held at the weekend. Whilst CEO Steve Walker was happy with the improvements by the squad it was noticed that New Zealand's Top Player Dan King Turner had dropped over 100 places from earlier this year.Players of the future where mentioned with Marcus Daniel and Finn Tearney being touted as younger players that could come through.It also questioned where were the top Kiwi's in the game of tennis with the CEO of New Zealand Tennis being Australian and many other positions in NZ tennis being filled by non-kiwis .You can listen to this interview and chat by going to Radio Sport You want to look for Tuesday and the 11.15am -11-30 am time slot.It also continues into the 11-30am to 11-45am ( Midnight to Midday)slot also.Certainly some interesting points brought up in this interview.There is a little Rugby chat and then the tennis interview starts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

China Proves "Its never over till its over" -defeats New Zealand 3-2 in Davis Cup Asia/Oceania World Group Final

What if the All Blacks were up 20 nil at halftime against Wales and then lost the match in the last minute of play!How would the media react? Well of course not on the same scale But China came back from the "dead" to Defeat New Zealand 3-2 in the Asia -Oceania Group 2 Final.Media Coverage Nation Wide was terrible you had to be virtually in New Plymouth where the tie was played to know what was the score, especially on Sunday with the two crucial last matches played. No Television coverage and no constant updates from TNZ except an occasional web insert after a result. As the last match hung in the balance Radio Sport did have some live crosses,thank goodness the rugby match had finished for that to happen.

Tennis New Zealand CEO Steve Walker said on their Web site that despite the loss he was still happy with the advances of the Davis Cup Team this year.That indeed might be the case but the fact that this was a home game, 2-0 up and in The History of Davis Cup in five meetings with China New Zealand had never lost .There was indeed "no pot of gold at the end of this result" as New Zealand still remain in the same group.

This was a great chance to get promoted, New Zealand had the highest players ranked on the Mens Circuit in Dan King-Turner(413) and Rubin Statham(460) whilst Chinas's singles players are ranked Bai(492) and Sun (553).Statham suffered an injured thumb during his first match and could not take part again in the tie so G.D Jones(612) gained a singles rubber for Sunday.China however were always favorites for the doubles with Zeng and Yu ranked 142 and 141 in doubles whilst the Kiwi Combination of King-Turner(190) and GD Jones(486) where the inexperienced doubles pairing compared to the Chinese.The Fact also that China's singles players did not have to play in Saturday in doubles whilst Jones and King-Turner both would have to back up for Sunday's important singles matches was to be a great tactical ploy by the chinese.

Fridays matches could not have gone beter for New Zealand King -Turner defeated Sun 6-3,6-2,6-4 and Statham defeated China's number 1 Bai 4-6,6-2,6-4,6-2 but in doing so injured his thumb . China took out the doubles rubber as their specialist team won 6-2,6-4,5-7,6-4 against Jones and King-Turner.

On the Final day with New Zealand having to win one of the two singles matches to advance Bai shocked King- Turner in straight sets 6-4,6-3,6-3 to level the tie. In a see-sawing final match fitting for Davis Cup Competition Sun defeated Jones 6-3,6-7,7-5,4-6,6-3.As the match went into the 5th Jones who was cramping in the 4th set sought two medical time outs early in the 5th set.Loss of mobility was very noticeble for Jones and Sun Closed out the match 6-3 final set.And so as China celebrated a remarkable comeback New Zealand had lessons to be learned as China both mentally and Physically had the edge when the going got tougth,out playing New Zealand in team combination .

Australia will lose to Chile however these two nations will not have the chance to renew past battles as New Zealand will now remain in the same Group for next year's competition and China will find themselves in the same Group as Australia.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Player Watch

Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov was the winner of the 18 Boys US Open defeating qualifier Devin Britton of the U.S. 6-4, 6-3 in the Final.Dimitrov also won the Wimbledon junior champion Boys title earlier this year.And last weekend won his second Men's Futures Title in the Madrid suburb of Mostoles.Dimitrov was victorious against local favourite, third-seeded Ignacio Coll-Riudavets, in straight sets (7-6, 6-3) after one hour and 45 minutes of play.
To reach the final Dimitrov had to go through another Spaniard, David Canudas-Fernandez. He won in two sets (6-4, 6-4).Dimitrov did not lose a single set during the entire tournament. He is now concentratiing on the Mens Tour with sights firmly set on a top 10 ranking there.Transitions from The Junior Circuit is dificult but this player certainly has the ability and form at 17 to make it with the "big boys"

Sibling tennis teams such as the Bryan Brothers are just like normal family and still have their family "spats" .One occasion when the Americans were sitting in the back of a car after a match at Wimbledon, and Bob punched Mike. When they reached the flat they were renting in Wimbledon Village, Mike "mule-kicked" Bob in the ribs, and so Bob took Mike's guitar and cracked it against the wall. Bob and Mike are the Tom and Jerry of men's tennis.Recently Andy Murray and his tennis playing brother Jamie have had a family fued. Read about these brothers here

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weakest Team in History of Davis Cup- Australian tennis depth shown up

Next weekend some important battles world wide begin as the next round of the Davis Cup begins,AUSTRALIA has named its most inexperienced line-up in Davis Cup history for this month's daunting World Group play-off in Chile.Yes Hewitt is recovering from surgery and Doubles specialist Paul Hanley is also having an operation,World No. 87 Chris Guccione is the only certain selection, as Peter Luczak (171) has only just returned from a hip injury, and Carsten Ball (188), Brydan Klein (239), serve-volleyer Sam Groth (234) and Tomic (818) would all be representing Australia for the first time, Tomic is only 15 and showing plenty of promise but not up to this level of competition yet on the physical side. Australia's last two trips to South America have ended in 5-0 whitewashes at the hands of Argentina in Buenos Aires - in 2006 with Hewitt and four years earlier without the country's most prolific Davis Cup singles winner.Questions will once again be asked on Australia's development programs at high performance level,it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work things out,! there is just not enough money being spent on players and coaches that are doing a great job but not being recognized if they are outside "the boys club" of Tennis Australia's High performance programs.Some of the best coaches are simply not being utilized.Money is continually being spent on administration and over payed executives in charge of running or sometimes ruining the game of tennis ,and not on the athletes or the coaches that are shedding blood sweat and tears in doing the best they can with limited resources and funds.TNZ need to watch very closely the failures of the Australian system and learn by them, one of the biggest factors is isolation and distance, the fact is numbers wise depth and standard its all on the other side of the world. When New Zealanders travel to Australia they are in awe of their depth but really in World standards Australia is lacking in this department.40 years ago we had the bulk of players playing the game and this is an important factor.To get this international exposure its beyond reach for most players and family's financially,Money is the key for players this side of the world because competition depth and standard is just not here and this means to be any good you have to travel.New Zealand take on China in their group final and will be expected to win and if Australia loses the two Nations may once again meet in Davis Cup. And if that happens support and interest will be very much on the decline as Australia falls behind other improving country's.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Champ is Back

Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win his 5th straight US Open title.Murray came up short in most departments as Federer was able to break Murray at crucial times.Pundits say that Murray will lift the silverware of a grandslam title one day, however the sooner Murray can concentrate on what he is doing on court and can curb his constant muttering and looking for divine help from his support group then maybe he can become the first male Brit since Fred Perry to win a grandslam singles title. Congragulations to Serena who I didnt think would stop jumping for joy after defeating Jelana Jankovic 6-4 7-5 in the ladies final.She also showed the tennis world that she is far from finished winning majors.True champions have that X factor that no matter how hard the opposition tries they cannot overcome that special ability to hit that winner or serve that ace on vital points,and Roger and Serena are true champions that have that X factor.
How do juniors get the X factor , I think this comes from your genes and the X factor is all ready their for those few that inherit this at birth, lets take Murray and Federer if they both play to their potential Federer will always come out on top, and that is because he has that little extra than a Murray has,thats why he is perhaps the greatest player of all time the X factor for some of us is beyond reach, hard work and self belief can go along way in helping you create your own special quality.For most of us this is the best way we can combat the X factor or at least compete with those that have this special gift.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Its Raining Tennis Balls- Local US Open Connection

Pictured left to right Geraldine Prisk,Gabrielle Grady and Elliot Darling,were presented with a Carton of Wilson Tennis Balls each.Albury Farmers Anne and Phillip Munro made the presentation,Wool from their Waiwera Station is being belted back and forth at this years US OPEN.The station has supplied six containers of wool a year ,each containing 140 conventional bales to the American Company makers of the Wilson Tennis Ball.No Doubt the Juniors presented with the carton of balls will put them to great use and will provide further inspiration and motivation when they next step out onto the practice court.Read the full Timaru Herald Story here.