Saturday, January 31, 2009


Leela Beattie was defeated in the Girls singles final today played at Wilding Park,Christchurch in hot conditions.Ninomiya from Japan won the title 6-4 6-2.Beattie looked to be getting on top in the first set leading 4-2 but a slight muscle pull in the shoulder meant Leela could only serve at 50% and in the end this was a telling factor.The Japanese player found her range with the forehand as Beattie could not maintain her depth and this allowed Nimomiya to take control.In a close first set she edged out Beattie 6-4.Leela broke early in the second to lead 2-0 but that was it as Ninomiya unleashed a series of powerful backhands and forehands taking advantage of Beattie who was not serving at full power.In all a great tournament for Leela and she goes onto Auckland full of confidence.Gabrielle Grady and Leela also received the Girls doubles runner-up trophy going down in a third set super tie break after the first two sets where split. 7-5 3-6 against top seed Carruthers and Pain.Twice in the second set Grady and Beattie had their opposition down 15-40 on their serves but ended up losing sudden death juice on both occasions.This was Grady and Beattie's first outing as a combination and should both be pleased on an outstanding tournament.In the Boys Singles Sean Berman tipped out Barret Franks 7-5 in the third set in a very even battle.Both boys failed to capitalize on chances and it was the case of Berman getting the victory as Franks could not take advantage of Bermans short second serves at crucial moments in the deciding set.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Beattie Storms to ITF Girls Final in Christchurch

Leela Beattie defeated N.Fourouclas of South Africa 7-6 6-3 in todays semi final in Christchurch.Beattie won a tight first set ,as the South African played a steady game,passing lots of balls over the net with few winners Beattie often tried to finish the point too early as Fourouclas chased a lot of balls and forced Beattie to go for the winning shot too early, Beattie had the edge with power and this was to be the telling factor as the match went on.Beattie being more patient and making sure she put the right ball away
closed out the tie break.The South African went ahead an early break to 3-0 in the second set but Beattie putting away the short balls with power especially off the forehand side fought back to 3-3.After a 32 shot rally which Beattie won to go to 4-3 Fourouclas could find no answer to the bombardment of ground strokes from Beattie and with that the match was lost 7-6 6-3.Beattie now plays Japanese player Ninomaya.The player from Japan has a strong forehand and has great movement around the court, she easily won he semi final today.This should be a great final.
In the Boys the much anticipated match between French Player Maxime Chazal and Sean Berman was a let down as Chazal made many unforced errors trying to finish the point too quickly against the solid ground strokes of Berman with Berman winning in 2 straight sets.The Other Semi Final Barret Franks the top seed again won a three setter against Makoto Ninomiya from Japan.Berman is my tip to win the Boys and Beattie the Girls.Gabrielle Grady and Leela Beattie unseeded continued their great run in the Girls Doubles today winning their semi final match against 6th Seeds Teiwa Casey and Katy 0'Shea from Australia 6-4 6-1.Both Girls played solid tennis with Grady making some great volleys at the net and continued to serve strongly.It was a polished display and they take on Top Seeds Carruthers(Sam)and Pain(Cal) in what should be a great match up.Pictured Below are Leela and Gabby just after their Semi Final win.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grady and Beattie Advance to Itf Girls Doubles semi's Christchurch

Gabrielle Grady and Leela Beattie scored a quarter final doubles win over Lucy and Rosie Bird (North Island) 6-2 6-4.After a tentative start Grady and Beattie dominated the first set with Beattie again dominant at the net.Grady who under went a series of tests at the Hospital prior to the match for back problems was a little off for the match but showed enormous courage to front up for the quarter final.They now go on to play Aussie pair O'shea and Casey in tomorrows semi finals.Beattie won through to the singles semi's with a three set win over Ayukawa from Japan.Beattie powered her way to win the first set but a determined comeback aided by some close line calls that went against Beattie saw Ayukawa win the second set 6-4 and go 3-0 up in the 3rd set before Beattie found her rhythm again and won 6 games in a row to take the set and the match 6-3. Ninaniya from Japan using her forehand as a major weapon had too much power for Golder in another quarter final winning 6-3 7-5. Carruthers moving around the court similar to Aussie Great Evonne Goolagong Cawley had too much class defeating Plant of South Africa 6-4 6-2.In the other quarter final Fourauclas was too solid for Emily Fanning winning 6-2 7-5.Unseeded French player looks the player to beat in the boys winning a three setter over Kawaski of Japan in the match of the quarter finals.Top Seed Barret Franks ( New Zealand) won his match against Kishi of Japan 7-5 6-0 and after the first two rounds matches have become easier for Franks.Sean Berman was much too steady on important points for Jayden Grinter winning 6-2 6-4 and Hachiya Japan defeated Eccleton of New Zealand 6-2 6-3. Semis get underway tomorrow.Pictured are Grady and Beattie and the Bird Sisters from center court action Wilding Park.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Grady goes down in round of 16 ITF Christchurch

Grady went down 6-2 6-2 to Auckland's Imogen Golder in today's R16 matches.Grady could not convert 5 break points on five of Golders service games and showed the lack of tough matches.Movement was still a problem with Grady due to a recurring back problem but showed glimpses of her old self with strong forehand winners.Golder used a variety of angles to not allow Grady to dictate, but a good tournament for Gabrielle showing that she can still compete at this level.Leela Beattie scored a R16 win defeating Emily Webb from Australia 7-6 6-2.Beattie had to fight all the way in the first set as the Australian found her "A" game.Grady and Beattie teamed up later in the day to defeat The 4th Seeds from Japan, Ayukawa and Naito 6-3 6-1.Grady and Beattie found themselves down 3-1 in the opening set but then their consistently hard hitting with depth took its toll on the Japanese pair.Strong serving from Grady throughout saw Beattie putting away many volleys.Their next match is against the Bird sisters and although the Birds were seeded on ITF rankings if it was a local New Zealand tournament Grady and Beattie would have the edge on seedings and for this match definitely on paper will be hard to beat.However this is tennis and no result is ever a forgone conclusion until you shake hands.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Grady defeats 8th seed ITF Christchurch

Gabrielle Grady came from 1 set down to defeat 8th seed J Grace. Grace who has a world ITF Ranking of 622 won the first set in blustery conditions at wilding park today.Grady could not find range with her backhand and too many unforced errors off this side gave the South African the first set.Grady settled down and started to mix the game up slicing and drop shotting of the backhand and fought back to win the second set 7-5.Grady went to a 2-0 lead in the third set before play was stopped with rain Grady serving and 30-30.Play resumed after an hour and a half and Grady held serve to go to 3-0. She kept to her tactics and run away with the third set 6-1.Grady and Leela Beattie both pictured here after their first round doubles win 6-4 6-3.Tomorrow they take on fourth seeds from Japan in what should be a great battle.Boys top seed Barret Franks survived another tough 3 setter coming from 4-2 down in the third set to defeat Shaun Waters from Australia.Gabrielle takes on 12th seed Imogen Golder in the round of 16 tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grady wins first round ITF Canterbury

Gabrielle Grady defeated Auckland Player Mikayla Davies 7-6 6-1 in ideal tennis conditions played earlier today. Grady raced to a 4-2 lead in the first set but a series of unforced errors let Davies back in the set and it had to be decided in a tie break 7-3 Grady.Grady short on match practice started nervously and found herself down 2-0.Davies had scored a win over Grady in three sets in their previous encounter.Grady continued to serve strongly in the second set and raced away to a 5-0 lead as Davies made many errors on the forehand side.Grady served out the set and the match 6-1.Gabrielle will now meat the 8th seed J.Grace from South Africa and is looking forward to this encounter.Grady will team up with Leela Beattie in the doubles that will start tomorrow.In the boys all eyes will be on second seed Sean Berman who left New Zealand 2 years ago to further his tennis in the USA.Listed as USA in the draw it will be intersting how the New Zealand boys shape up against him a good yard stick no doubt on improvement.Day 2 will have all the seeds playing especially in the girls and know doubt their will be upsets.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tennis Players Need to toughen Up

Believe it or not to play tennis well you must be extremely disciplined and this is apparent both on and off the court.During a tennis match players need to be able to deal with ebbs and flows ,be able to weather the storm from a "hot" player at the other end ,believe in their ability and not let frustration overcome you because the player at the other end is playing a way you dont like.Heres a perfect scenario ,Player 1 likes to play attacking and aggressive tennis however his opponent is far from that he is a retriever no winning shots of note but very consistent plays high over the net and rolls the ball back into play whilst the attacking player is trying to play aggessively on the baseline.The worst thing that the attacking player is to lose it emotionally by audible comments like " I cant play against a pusher" as soon as the player picks up on this guess what? you can rest assure there will be more high no pace balls coming back at you.Once you have let the player get to you the match is probably lost.You must continue your game and with adjustment realize you may not win the shot in 3 hits it might take you more rally's to set up the final put away ball against these players.And if you cannot overcome this then not only will this player succeed but the word on the street is that you cant play against this type of player and you will find that smart players will know this and you will be finding more of this play coming your way.

Pictured is Southern 12s Boys rep Henry Hailes fro Otago, Henry had a great teams event losing just 1 singles rubber.Henry learned a lot during this event and showed a willingness to improve and learn, he gave 100% determination in all matches , and even the match he lost I am sure it was a valuable experience.Henry was able to take
comments and help during matches and when the going got tough he could keep up the pace.He was a very valuable player in the team which just missed bronze going down to Canterbury on a countback.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Southern Boys First Up win over Waikato

Southern Boys scored a great first up win over Waikato yesterday in the National 12s teams event in Timaru.Henry Hailes and Carlos Reid both had great wins at 3 and 4 singles Henry winning in two sets and Carlos in three.Waikato fought back and took the number 1 and 2 singles rubber with Darling going down to Manaia Hiha a repeat match from the Maindraw singles .Darling had set points in the first set but failed to convert and Hiha came away with the match 7/6 6/0.Lane went down to Brad Currie 6-1 6-4 .The tie stood after the singles 2 all with Waikato up a set going into the doubles.Southern have never put on a convincing doubles display until yesterday with both combinations winning Darling and Lane 6-1 6-1 over Hiha and Currie and Hailes and Reid 7-5 6-2 over Hamilton/Guilford,Hailes and Reid had lost to this pair in the tournament section earlier.A great start to the event ,Southern have a tough encounter first up this morning against Central. The girls lost 4-2 against Auckland and made a tactical blunder leaving Number 1 Anabell Ellis out of the singles play.

The National 12s winners where also decided yesterday in both boys and girls,Alexander Klintcharov defeated Manaia Hiha 6-2 6-0 in the boys final.Klintcherov the top seed certainly lived up to this dominating Hiha in all areas.The girls was somewhat closer with Claudia Williams defeating Shanni Temata-Frost 3-6 6-4 6-3 in a match riddled with unforced errors. Local top tennis players Gabrielle Grady and Hector Garcia umpired the matches, girls and boys respectively Hector a quiet time but in a match that needed a strong person in the chair for the girls final Gabrielle handled the match with composure ,of course Gabrielle is a former National 12s and 14s girls singles titlist.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The National 12s Teams event will commence tomorrow in Timaru, Southern Boys are hoping for a top 3 finish however competition will be fierce .Teams that have depth always do well with the Number four singles just as important as the Number 1 singles tie.Matches are often decided on the doubles and teams that can put together solid combinations will fare well. At last years 12s teams event the doubles did cost Southern a higher finish ,hopefully this year the boys can play some tough doubles.

Lawrence Darlings Great run in the 12s singles came to an end today being defeated 4-6 6-4 6-3 by Manaia Hiha in a close three set semi final match up. Southern have drawn Waikato first for the teams event so another likely rematch against Hiha will be on the cards for Darling. Anabell Ellis will contest the Consolation Final with a great win over Alexandra Howell of Auckland in Semi Final play today Ellis showed that by working hard and keeping focus she can compete with the top girls of her age

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mixed Fortunes for South Canterbury Elite Squad Members

Lawrence Darling caused an upset today in the Boys National 12s Main Draw singles knocking out the 4th seed Kiranpal Pannu ( Wellington).Darling was able to set up the win with controlled power and depth played in hot condition's in Timaru today.On the next court Sam Lane found second seed Tai Durie too polished.Whilst Lane was able to mix it with Durie it was Durie's ability to turn defense into attack that was the difference.
Another Elite Squad member Annabel Ellis put up a good effort against 3rd seed Paige Hourigan going down 6-4 6-3 ,if Ellis works on her fitness in the next few months wins against these players will be forthcoming. The South Canterbury players in reaching where they did in the Main draws continue a great record of success at Nationals for Coach Stephen Dries and the South Canterbury Tennis program.Play continues tomorrow with Darling hoping to continue his run.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Can't Australia produce Top Tennis Players

Laver, Rosewell, Newcombe, Roche, Hoad and the list goes on.With the Australian Open just a week away the usual story's on Australian tennis woes and slip from what was once a power full tennis nation are emerging in the tabloids.This summer will be a lean period for Aussie tennis players and the Australian Public should not expect too much.Every one has there own ideas and here are some story's and links from former Aussie greats, former Wimbledon Champ Ashley Cooper probably hit the nail on the head with this comment We're seeing all the European players really hungry to win. It seems our lifestyles are too easy here," Cooper said. "I don't know enough about it, but particularly the eastern European kids, they'll walk on glass to get to the top. So our younger players have got to realise hard work is very essential. And they've really got to commit and want to do it".Click here for the full storyJohn Alexander says the demise of Home tennis courts is another reason follow the story hereAnd a very interesting article comments on how for years, Australia has been pound-for-pound the greatest sporting nation, winning golds, grand slams and World Cups, taking particular pleasure in crushing England. But cracks have started to show. Here the article explains where it's gone wrong and how failure is affecting the country's psyche And there will be more and you can bet once again Tennis Australia's Development program and Craig Tiley will be scrutinized once again.One thing we must realize is that the balance of power has shifted ,depth of players are the key and the sad fact is that here in Oceania we lack depth and this has a lot to do with our geographic location and regular exposure to higher ranked players and tournaments.

After 8 days in Auckland with the 14s National teams and Hard court champs I am back in Timaru and ready for the National 12s teams event and individuals.The best 12 and under boys and girls in New Zealand start arriving in Timaru tomorrow. I am sure our North Island friends will be impressed by our Facilities and also Timaru in general.
Watch this space for current updates and news .

Friday, January 9, 2009

Southern 14 Boys Team Success in Auckland

It was a fitting end to the National Teams event that Southern boys finished with the bronze medal,after dropping their first match against eventual winners Waikato the boys won all of their remaining 4 matches and came away with two huge wins against top seed Auckland and Second Seeds Canterbury who finished second ,and surely Canterbury would have won the event had it not been for the loss to Southern. All team members put in a great effort and it was a team effort that brought about the Bronze Medal. Pictured are Back row ,Hamish Race ( Timaru) Yours truly(coach), Harry James ( Queenstown) Front Ryan Eggers(Otago) James Smith( Queenstown) Elliot Darling ( Timaru). The boys responded to some tough team talks where it was important to realize that intensity and keeping to a game plan is very important, maintain these two things and it will be a key area for success.The individuals all commenced yesterday with all team members posting wins except for James Smith who had a very hard first round match against seed Tutere Durie. Play continues today. The 14s Southern Girls team where very competitive throughout the teams even and finished 4Th.All four girls posted first round singles wins yesterday also.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Top Seeds Auckland goes down to Southern

Southern 14s Boys Team again knocked off a seeded team this time top seed Auckland.Yesterday they defeated second seeds Canterbury.Harry James had too much power for Cameron Norrie 6-3 6-0.Norrie is top seed for the 14 boys singles that start today.Elliot Darling scored a great win over Devon Squbin 7-5 6-2 coming from 1-5 30-40 down in the firstset to win the match.James Smith continued his good singles form putting away Niko Vulinovich 6-1 6-3.Hamish Race coundn't over come his nerves and went down 6-4 6-2.Southern 3-1 up after the singles.Auckland fought back winning the doubles both in 3 sets with James and Smith surprisingly going down afer winning the first set 6-0.It was a lesson to learn in intensity and keeping to a game plan as Auckland defended from the baseline with lobs after the first set, and our boys could not take advantage of the smashing practice they where getting.Ryan Eggers again teamed with Darling and they put up a good fight to lose in 3 sets. Southern up on sets and a satisfying win over Auckland in what should of been a more convincing win. In my opinion the current way points are awarded in the round robin event are flawed Southern has won 3 out of 4 matches but still sit 4th on the Point's table going into the final round.Look out for plenty of upsets in the 14s singles events with many seeds having inflated top dog rankings from other events than junior tournaments.Ryan Eggers is pictured and he will get his second singles match in the all important tie against Wellington today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Southern Boys Pull off upset win in National 14s Teams Event-Auckland

Southern Boys 14s team scored a great win over fellow south Islanders Canterbury in a Huge upset on Day 2 of the event.With the singles rubbers over the Match stood with 2 wins a piece, Harry James victorious over Joe Bray in Straight sets and James Smith playing his best tennis so far had a great win over Finbar Argus also in straight sets,Canterbury's two wins came with Thomas Batt defeating Eliot Darling in two close sets and Corbin Ashby defeating Hamish race also in straight sets.At the end of the singles Southern had a one game advantage. Darling and Eggers went down to Argus and Ashby 6-3 6-3 but Harry James and James Smith gave the Canterbury top pairing off Joe Bray and Ben Johnston a Doubles lesson winning 6-2 6-1.Giving Southern a games win as rubbers stood at 3 all. For the coach it was a hard day with Southern finishing yesterdays tie against Northern 4-2 with an uninspired doubles performance and then 6 hard fought matches against Canterbury. Games in a teams event are very important even if you are on the losing end .With everything even a count back on games can determine the match and its pleasing to report that for Southern in the losing matches there was fight and determination , of course to win but to get games also.The win by Southern has thrown the competition for the Boys wide open and we look forward to our next matches.The southern Girls team also had a strong performance this afternoon defeating Northern 5-1. Pictured above are the boys relaxing after today's tennis
Hamish Race, James Smith and Eliot Darling ( left to right back row) and Harry James and Ryan Eggers front ( Left to right)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ready Set Go- Tennis Action ready to Start

After all the Christmas and new year celebrations the Tennis Season in New Zealand is in full swing.The first major junior event of the year begins the 5Th in Auckland the 14s national teams event and 14s National Hard court champs.After a year absent I am back as coach of the Southern Boys team who if they all play well will be competive in the Teams events.I am looking forward to the battles ahead and as in past years we will have our wins and of course losses.The important thing for players in teams events is to give their best win or lose play to a plan and show some team spirit, I have been lucky enougth to win Gold , silvers and Bronze with Southern teams over the past few years but with the new restructure Southern will struggle against the other 5 regions, distance and population compered to other regions are factors that make this area and region unique compared to others and the fact that the biggest city Dunedin is not a huge tennis city and dosnt compare to its counterparts ie Hamilton, Auckland ,Christchurch, and Wellington .The last few years Southern has performed well at national events .Depth is the key to any teams events and the number 4 singles player on the team is equally as important as the Number 1 player.Doubles can decide a win or a loss for a team and these two rubbers are always vital to pick up.The picture with this article is Leela Beattie( who has been training with me for the past week) and Gabrielle Grady ,both are National Title winners and Leela is gearing up for the 16s Nationals in Christchurch and ITF s later this month, Gabrielle is still battling injury but hopes to play some Money tournaments as well as ITF s later this month also.The two girls are pairing up for the North Otago Open on grass next weekend.