Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year tennis players and Fans!

Well bring on 2011 and let the tennis matches commence! Although tennis is a big part of my life its not without saying that to all readers I wish you and your family good health for the coming year .Keep coming back to my blog for news and pictures of local and world news.Below is a little tongue in cheek picture.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

Just taking the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas no matter where you are in the world. Thanks for visiting my Blog and keep checking for updates.
On this side of the world as I write its Christmas eve around 4.30pm in the afternoon,usually i get that gust of wind with the smell of Christmas on it sending me shivers knowing that Christmas is indeed upon us, this year it has not hit yet maybe because my father cannot be with us here in New Zealand this year still recovering from Heart Surgery, since being here in NZ he has been with us for every Christmas.My mother turns 79 on Christmas Day and that in itself is hard to believe .Happy Birthday Mum, unfortunately she does not use the computer so a phone call will be in order to give her best wishes.My Grandmother is 102 and this year will be her first Christmas she has not spent at home, just her legs cannot get her where she wants to anymore.We were lucky to have her here in New Zealand for Christmas day a few year ago.So Christmas day always turns to thoughts of family at home.

I know for sure that many children will be waking up Xmas morning and finding brand new tennis racquet's in their Santa Sack or gifts under the Christmas tree.Get ready for a wild ride kids if used regular the game of tennis will give you lots of laughs and like me can be with you a lifetime.It will also at times bring you tears as you suffer and learn that winning is not that important more so the fact that you can learn from losses.It is going to take someone to the top of the tree and a future world champion will be unwrapping the paper from their racquet that will take them to the top.Tennis can take you places and teaches you life lessons ,Boy! are you lucky to be recieving a brand new racquet this Christmas .Keep it safe and treat it as your best friend it will respond and take you to where you want to go .Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Xmas Tournament Video.

I always run a small event leading to Xmas. Participants had to wear a Christmas theme. Lots of fun on the day, We had Pizza for Lunch and the winner of the Christmas Wreath Trophy was 9 years old Duncan Rollinson. Below is a video highlights of the day. 

Whats up - Tennis Australia and Tennis New Zealand

Well as Christmas fast approaches I thought I had better give a spin on whats been happening here at home and across the ditch.Not a lot is my first thoughts,but I will start with some news from Aussie. 

Not so long ago the ugly side of Junior tennis came to the fore with two parents being involved in brawl at Melbourne Park. Here is the link to the story There are mad parents all over the world and New Zealand is not short of them either. Most of these come from making their child live their dream,high expectations in the scheme of things.When i decide to give the coaching side away ,I will put a book out on some of the crazy's I have had to deal with over the years.

Obviously Lleyton Hewitt is asking Santa Claus for a big present he believes he can crack the World's Top 10 again. Does Santa think Lleyton has been a good boy thinks not and just like Santa some people with common sense do not believe in it.LINK 

The other bad boy currently is Bernard Tomic...Australia's next big hope.He withdrew from the recent Australian Open Wild Card tournament stating illness and then was seen a couple of days later hard out in practice.Read the story here

Former Aussie Great John Newcombe has this to say about Tomic

I watched the Wildcard playoffs and was really disappointed when two of the oldest players in the field Marinko Matosevic beat Peter Luczak to win a spot in the Maindraw for the Aussie open.They beat the best of the Aussie youngsters which is really scary for the future of the game in Australia.

The Ladies field was no better with Jelena Dokic going down to youngster Olivia Rogowska in the final.Another veteran trying to relive the past was Alicia Molik who was easily beaten by Dokic in the semi's.My advice retire girls you are never going to scale the heights you scaled years ago.Wasting time and resources Tennis Australia on these players.

So reading between the lines Tennis Australia will be answering more tough questions over the open period on the "state of the game"

Meanwhile closer to home in the land where most "wont play an event for the fear of showing where they really are on the tennis scene", the residential s have just been completed with Katherine Westbury and Artem Sitak taking out the even and recieving qualifying to the big Open tennis in Auckland early January.Leela Beattie who had the best form going into this had a disappointing  loss to Westbury in the Final. Leela has to improve her mental side to have any chance of making it to the next level.Some noticeable omissions from the women's draw , they know who they are and continue to prevail recieving sponsorship and wild cards on hype alone.

Certainly not much to report on the Men's side with players coming off the Australian challenger circuit where they really did not perform.Of course college players Childs and Venus did not play, yet Venus has received a wild card for the Heineken Open.The Final between Sitak and Marvin Barker ...Sitak being Russian and Barker raised in Australia leaves you pondering what I really think of the "state of the game" in New Zealand.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Steve's annual Xmas Tourney

We had a great day at the South Canterbury Tennis Center with my annual Xmas Tourney being held.9 year old Duncan Rollinson took out this year's event with the highest total of games for the day won.It was great to see so many wear a Christmas theme with George Tarbotton pictured bottom right voted the best dressed on the day.Lots of matches were played and all enjoyed a Pizza lunch . Lots of things happening at Tennis South Canterbury where you can be assured you will gain the best coaching in the region.Follow this link to find out further information.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winning tennis- and a quick post from Aussie

Sorry for the lack of posts, have made a quick trip back to Australia to visit family. Earlier this year my father had major Heart surgery and suffered a stroke during the operation. After extensive recovery its pleasing to report how much he has improved , I went walking with him early this morning when last I saw him he hardly could stand without support, it’s amazing to see his recovery and improvement .I am also taking the opportunity to visit my 102 year old grandmother. Whilst home I always look into my niece’s trophy cabinet and thought I would post some pictures here of a few trophies of many they accumulated from their early junior days 6- 13yrs travelling mostly all over the state of NSW Kirsty and Gabrielle won many age group events. We could not bring them to New Zealand when they moved and now sit at my parents’ house, constant reminders of the commitment and fun we had taking them to tournaments. Yes I guess Dust Collectors but very nice to look back on.
Just speaking about trophies, you can see by the pictures that some are indeed very nice and in comparison to what is given in New Zealand at most Junior tournaments there is not much! I guess its costs I know just the basic trophies in New Zealand are very expensive. Whilst we know that it’s not all about the trophy they are a nice reward for your efforts.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Southern Closed in Need of a Face Lift

Above is a picture of The South Canterbury Tennis Center with some of the courts undergoing a face lift , I will post the finished product later.It is the venue this weekend of the Southern Closed Open and Junior event which is in desperate need of a face lift also! I still believe in the concept bringing the region's junior tennis players together for what should be a major event on the regions calender.Its a local regional event that could cater for everyone and the concept if taken on board could go from oblivion to a well supported event.
First of all we as coaches have a lot to answer for , why are we coaching children , one of the reasons are to progress your players to play in events such as these.If every major coach in the region could bring 10 to 15 juniors then suddenly we go from 20 players to 120 players + .Expand the events taking in 10s ,12, 14s Opens and a veteran doubles event.Have a championship event and a non championship event so that all junior players may enter and not be intimidated by the better players.Make a coaches forum during the event  to discuss idea's on junior tennis in the region.Attract sponsors for an event such as this and provide suitable rewards to participants.Look at a date change.... an event like this is suitable for a Long Weekend may Labor weekend.Rotate the event with major centers ,South Canterbury, Otago and Southland.These are just a few thoughts that could open discussion.Consensus would be unless we do have a face lift then currently the current concept is a Non Event.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Crying Junior Tennis Players

Came across an article written on Junior tennis players crying. Its from the Tennis Mom's spin and this is a useful site for Parents of budding junior tennis players and has a lot of good story's and info. Click here to READ the story titled the crying game.As a coach I do not mind crying after the loss of a match ,its the comforting from parents straight after I do not like.I think let the child have their moment and  get rid of the tears because they have to deal with more matches in the future , leave them alone let them cry it out and move on.The other factor of crying that annoys me is during a match when the child is losing .Through all those tears it must be hard to see the oncoming ball, so toughen up wipe those tears at the change of ends and play point by point.Even the pro's cry but leave it to after the match and not on the court.And a little advice..... parents give your child some space after losing a match, believe me in the long run they will be better off.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ATP World Finals -London

The last major event for men is on starting tomorrow New Zealand Time and Sunday London Time.Not really a big fan of this event but it should provide some interesting matches.Matches for tomorrow are

Soderling Vs Murray - Soderling has the form coming into this match with Murray a home ground advantage.One can never tell in Round Robin events but I will go for Soderling who if playing well will edge Murray out in the Power department.

Federer Vs Ferrer - Federer I think should get there for this one, don't really think Ferrer will be a threat to the major contenders.

Djokovic vs Berdych-Berdych has not had great form of last so I think Novak will get the win here.

Nadal vs Roddick- Nadal is well rested and is there to win , Roddick I am not so sure, Nadal for my mind.

I will also give some updates from the futures in Australia(Vic) in which qualifying has started.Both Leela  Beattie and Emily Fanning play off tomorrow for a spot in the maindraw. Seed foundation sponsorship recipient Katherine Westbury fell in straight sets in the second round of qualifying.

In the men's, final round of qualifying will also take place and one interesting match up for a place in the Main draw is Up and coming New Zealander Sebastian Lavie  ( although he been based in France for much of his junior days) and New Zealander  whoops American whoops Australian Sean Berman.
I think Berman has a South African Connection in their also.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The State of Kiwi Tennis

The current Mens and Women's Challenger events held in Wellington this week was disappointing for local players .Leela Beattie was unlucky to draw Elitsa Kotsova the 6th seed from Bulgaria in the first round going down in a tough three setter and was probably the best performed amongst the other Kiwi entrants.Leela needs to maintain her consistency and must perform in every round and this will be needed to succeed as she takes on Challenger events in Australia.Apart From top seed Jarmila Groth the field was as pedestrian as you would find in a challenger event. The qualifying was really a non event and New Zealand players will have to earn their way to main draws at upcoming Australian events and not have the privilege of Wild cards.

The men's event was a disaster for Kiwi players,James Duckworth an 18 year old from Australia with an ATP ranking of around 900 decimated the New Zealand Davis Cup team defeating Michael Venus in the second round and 5th seed Russian soon to be Kiwi Artem Sitak in the quarter finals.Three Aussies and one German make up the semi's to be played today.

Whilst its nice to give locals a break with Wild cards , I think players need to earn a shot and not just be handed "gifts". I would like to see a Wild card tournaments played prior to an event such as this and make these youngsters earn their way.Tennis is a tough sport and those that are handed everything may eventually be found out.Plenty of wealthy parents fund opportunities and many juniors without access to funding  miss the boat.We need the European mentality where you have to fight your way to success and until we install this way of thinking.Life is just too easy this side of the world.!

Just 12 men competed in the qualifying events in Wellington and 12 in the Ladies event! In fact if i had turned up to enter I probably would of made the qualifying draw! The size of qualifying was a 16 draw mens and women.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The State of Australian Tennis

I am going to provide a link of a recent Interview with John Fitzgerald former Davis Cup Captain. He is quizzed on a number of issues relating TA Development programs .Being just elected to the Board of Tennis Australia it was all a little watered down and not really much substance in the interview . He does  comment about a junior girl saying  " she is probably the best prospect we've had in 20 years in the women's game." Of course the "eye" has mentioned this player in a previous post as one to watch and that is Ashleigh Barty, who is ranked 145 in the ITF juniors after winning three of the five ITF tournaments she's entered this year. She also reached the semifinals of a $25,000 ITF Women's Circuit event last month.The Link for the Article is here. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rafa Bromance

Don't get a lot of time over summer to put a video together for my you tube channel but today I found some spare minutes ...well it does take more than minutes to put together one of these.Tongue in cheek tribute to Rafael Nadal's respect of opponents. Could be called BROMANCE!

Sleepy Tennis Hits Wellington

 Pro qualifying was held today ( was over by lunch!!!) for the US$25,000 women’s tennis ITF and US$15,000 men’s Futures at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington.The field for both men and Women are filtered with players trying to break into the big time of the ATP and WTA tours.Some will be destined to travel the world competing in more tournaments such as these chasing their dream or in a lot of cases their parents dream.Jamila Groth from Australia heads the womens field and is 46 in the world.Must be a good reason why this player has entered such an ordinary field , I can't think of any at the moment.Next on the List is Sally Peers also from Australia at 157 and I wont be holding my breath until she breaks the top 100.Kiwi Sacha Jones  gains a direct entry as a result of her ranking of 268. She may be one of the seeded players in the main draw, for me the only interest is if she draws  Kiwi teenagers, Katherine Westbury who has a WTA ranking of 771, Emily Fanning, Chelsea Te Tai and Leela Beattie.I have to ask how does Te Tai get a wild card,has been based in Australia for years ,one of the most 
traveled players out there for no results. An absolute waste of a wildcard!.Sorry I digressed back to the reason why it would be great to see a match up of Jones and the wildcards... it will be interesting to see how these players match up to an experienced Kiwi.

To make it on the womens circuit these Wildcards need to step up and its this type of tournament that will show if they can, its like a Christmas present come early to be in the Main draw and maybe I sound like Scrooge but at some time we have to face facts where we are really going with tennis.

The qualifying was very poor with players going straight into the draw or just winning one match this was the fact in both Men and Womens events.

Most of the the Wildcards are Juniors and most of them have not won a high level Grade 1 ITF junior event, the experience will be great, but is it deserving?

Its much the same in the mens draw , less prize money on offer here and the top seed is Brydan Klein 247 from Australia, he might keep the umpires on their toes this tournament .

In the men’s Futures, Michael Venus and Rubin Statham start the Kiwi line up.  Marvin Barker andSebastian Lavie moved into main draw directly yesterday with some last minute withdrawals from the main draw acceptance list. This gave TNZ two further wildcards for the tournament.  Juniors Adam Lee and Jaden Grinter were awarded the wildcards along with Anton Bettink and  Adam Staub as the fourth wildcard.

Kiwi Adam Thompson received a bye in the qualifying to move directly into the main draw, along with Martin Colenbrander and local junior Olly Sadler after their opponents were moved into main draw automatically.

Local Warwick Foy and Auckland's Stefan Williams won their qualifying matches today to move into the main draw.  

Again interest for me is how these players shape up against the younger Aussie such as Ben Mitchell and James Duckworth. With no offense the Mens event is a little thin and if the draw is kind a New Zealander could go far, and that person could be Michael Venus.

Looking forward to First round action next week and at some stage no doubt will give a few comments.

Evolution - the serve

Came across an interesting video showing Nadal's service changes over the year.Its quite an interesting video. Serving is a very complicated stroke and for some its a constant evolution to try to find the best action.For juniors you must practice this daily to perfect it. Unfortunately not enough juniors put in the required time to improve their serve. 

Nadal's Serve Analysis by Patrick Mouratoglou
Uploaded by Mouratoglouta. - Discover the latest sports and extreme videos.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Southern Junior Quads South Canterbury Spin

Whilst no silver ware was captured this year , the junior quad team performed above expectations. This year we had a lot of players participating at a major event for the very first time and the improvement over the three days of tennis was for me as coach very noticeable. All players gained invaluable experience which will help them improve over the season. Sometimes one has to suffer loses to learn and events such as this its not all about winning and we do have to accept that we learn more from losing sometimes than winning. We also find out a lot about ourselves in how we handle match situations do we "fold" when the going gets tough or do we keep trying until the final point .For parents accompanying its a learning experience for them also seeing the level of tennis and what is needed to do well at this sport. Tennis is very much an individual sport however a Teams event such as this individuality must be put on hold, sometimes you have injury's but one at times has to find away to get through events such as this ,its tough sometimes and you have to play through some pain, all athletes do this at times.

The 12s produced some great results, In the girls Anna Cochrane was undefeated in her singles matches and the rest of the team of Emily Gilchrist, Alex Porter, Ruby Brown and Magenta Cunningham Lewis where competing for the first time at a major tennis event. These girls had a great attitude all weekend and whilst could not match it at times with the more experienced players improved with each game they played and will be better off in their next tennis match by the experienced gained this weekend. The 12 boys had some great battles and some extremely long matches, Jono Ellis held is own at 1 and Ben Deeley still 10 had some great matches! Hugh Rollinson played outstanding tennis, his singles play was awesome! Brad Cvitanich was competitive and I think learned a lot which will make him stronger for the future. Oscar Ackland excelled and proved he was prepared to grind out wins and this showed with his results,

The 14s held their own against all teams and only lost to Otago 14s. Considering Sam Lane, Annabel Ellis and George Tarbotton along with Gretchen Bleeker all eligible for this age groups but had to be elevated to the 16s this team did very well. The girls competed well Charlotte Lamb and Rebecca Gill playing at number 1 and 2 whilst not winning many matches they played extremely well against tough opposition. Libby Taylor and Greer Glentworth both won important matches as did Pru Murdoch and these crucial wins meant that the 14s won overall against all but Otago. The boys played very well all weekend Adam Beck at 1 had some great wins as did Daniel Kelliher who won 3 of his 4 singles. Josh Reddecliffe , and Angus Rollinson also played their part winning important singles rubbers. Jack Deeley another player who played up showed he could mix it with the older boys winning the tennis battle and also the mental battle in one particular match.

The 16s by not having their full strength line up on the playing field in various matches meant they could have won more matches... however I have to mention Luke Elsen and Hamish Wallace who stepped up to the older age group and really held their own in all matches Well Done! Sam Lane played with a wrist injury and was below his best but I want to acknowledge his commitment to the team and will have gained a lot from this and I do not mean just the tennis side. George Tarbotton also elevated to the 16s played well and this experience will greatly help George. Tom Deeley had a good win against Southland whilst Hamish Race on the comeback trail suffered and knee injury which put him out for Sunday. Annabel Ellis playing at 1 had a great win against Sharne English and it was pleasing to see Geraldine Prisk back competing and will be all the better for this outing. Sam Olley and Rose Clearwater played some great tennis and I noted their improvement in every match. Gretchen Bleeker also competed well against stiff opposition and Gretchen also played up in the 16s although eligible for the 14s.

Well done to the people who made this happen and helped over the weekend , you all know who you are! This was a huge effort in getting teams on the courts and I am pleased to say that we did not have to forfeit any age group or matches! For me it was great to see players develop over the weekend we can not win every time but the South Canterbury players all held up a proud tradition that has been cemented by previous teams and no doubt will continue for the future.

Below is a presentation of the weekend.. thanks to Ace Ventura for the pics!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Talent on show and Asia dominates Asian Closed Champs

Talented Primary School juniors from all over South Canterbury were on show yesterday at Timaru.The above pictures are courtesy of Ace Ventura photographer Willy.Pictures right and above runner-up in the A grade girls Anna Cochrane and and bottom right winner Annabel Ellis.Left and above the crowd on hand to watch the A grade girls , middle left Rebecca Gill Semi Finalist and runner-up A grade Boys Sam Lane .All in all a great days tennis in perfect conditions.!

Meanwhile oversea's at the Seogwipo Asian/Oceania Closed Championships 2010 New Zealand and Australian Junior girls have been decimated in the early rounds of this event.Ashleigh Barty winner of last weeks ITF event in Thailand was beaten by Kanami Tsuji of Japan 6-2 6-2, Emily Fanning New Zealand the 8 th seed was beaten by unseeded player Ratnika Batra of India 6-3 6-0 and Belinda Woolcock of Australia did not even make the court against 3rd seed Hozumi of Japan.

Not much publicity in the SEED FOUNDATION sponsorship ,three female New Zealand Tennis players have been awarded these and a considerable amount of money.I question the foresight and reasoning of one of these selections.Someone who has been selected for New Zealand but never made themselves available throughout the juniors.....and in assessing players in the modern game how far can a player in the womens tennis with two hands both sides really go?Of course Monica Seles a truly great of the game had two hands both sides but could she survive in the current game and we are not talking about another Seles believe me!And what message does this selection send out to local juniors that have supported New Zealand tennis and needs a break to further achieve.I maybe wrong however don't hold your breath waiting for these recipients to break into the top 100. Time will Tell.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Player Alert

Keep an eye out for Australian Junior Ashleigh Barty.Barty just won the ITF Yonex LTAT in Thailand.I have always said that do not pay too much attention to Junior ITF rankings as many have over inflated points .Barty started the tournament ranked 381 and came through the qualifying to main draw.This event included New Zealander Emily Fanning seeded 8 who was beaten by Aussie Abbey Myers in the second round.Barty dominated the field winning 6-2 6-2 R1 6-3 6-4 R2 6-1 6-0 R3 6-1 6-0 QF 6-1 6-0 SF and the winning the final
6-3 6-0 over Lin ZHU (china) .Barty is a 1996 birthdate and was one of the youngest in the field.Barty is definitely a player to watch out for in the future.

Full results can be found at this LINK

Various Tennis Activities

Tennis season is GO ! GO! GO! lots of different activities ,today I ran an ID day with 26 youngsters from across South Canterbury.We finished the activities with a lolly scramble , great to see such enjoyment, I was assisted by Dino and Gabrielle whilst Tony the Development officer welcomed parents and participants.

Ran into a rather interesting tennis player in Fairlie and the below picture this character is joined by some of the Mackenzie College students.Sunday I am at the courts again with local players plus visitors from North Otago and Darfield.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Tennis Family ---Snap Snap

What a great start to the week with this clever Gif spoof on the Addams Family replacing them with the current top men from the ATP tour. Federer indeed makes a great Gomez and Agassi is perfect as Uncle Fester and Rafa as Wednesday .I found this on the web and would credit the maker if i had the details, but well done to the creator.

tennis family

Monday, October 25, 2010

Selection Dilemma !

Being involved as a Coach and selector for local rep matches can be a nightmare as you confront a whole series of issues why players are unavailable.There is nothing new to issues such as injury's, family weddings, cannot afford the time off school and psychological factors or just could not be bothered which I must say is very rare.Nothing surprises me, however it is still disappointing to deal with what is an age old problem.Injury's I guess you can't help and one must not dwell too much on these, its the other factors that one tires of.Tennis is an individual sport and its in this environment the selfish factor is brought to the forefront.It can be simply the parents don't want their child to lose in a head to head match up with a particular opponent during the team event and this can lead into a list of excuses non tennis related, one a coach just does not want to deal with.Some players have gone well and above the call of duty to play events ,one player had major surgery on their back and played the team event serving underarm and winning vital rubbers to secure an overall team victory.I say where there is a will there is a way and yes you might not be at your best sometimes but you do it for the team.This post is no way singling anyone out... its a fact Coach and selectors have to deal with every time one picks a team however try looking at the other side once in a while and remember tennis sometimes is a Team Sport.You know Juniors who are involved with rep sport must know that at a certain level you have to commit. Sometimes events clash and sacrifices must be made.As a Pro Coach I expect parents and players to realize that you cannot be in two places at once and the right choice is made for the good of the team. Just as in other rep sport tennis requires the same support!.Just remember when unavailable have a good excuse ready because I have heard them all , I don't mind legit but honestly I have not come down in the last rain shower for most. What I have noticed in the current generation the sense of pride playing for your region is met with mediocre outlook.I could go on but I'm afraid I face a losing battle , I admire and respect those that you can continue to count on.Whilst this is not relevant I can remember an old coach saying that if you were in the trenches of Normandy in WW2 you hope your team mate that gives it their all on the playing field is the guy you want next to you in those trenches .. a mate you can rely on on when the going gets tough.Commitment does start pre season!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ashburton Update

George Tarbotton pictured above top had a good win against Dougal Halifax 6-4 6-3 and will play Kye Lee from Canterbury in his next match. Duncan Rollinson pictured bottom has continued his winning way in the 8s and will play the final tomorrow.Ben Deeley also showed good form winning his first round in the boys 10's.Jack Deeley will play tomorrow in the 12s in what has been a curious scheduling of a three day tournament .

Meanwhile in Auckland Anabel Ellis has scored a win in her second pool match defeating Erasmus from Canterbury 6-2 6-4.Great conditions abound still in Ashburton however as we know weather in New Zealand can be perfect but change as quick as you can say "double fault".

Ashburton Junior Tournament

In Ashburton today to watch South Canterbury Juniors participate in the Long Weekend Tournament.I hate to say I first visited a Junior tournament in Ashburton some 20 years ago when I took a group of Australian juniors to New Zealand.Back then the complex was all grass , now its one of the best tennis centers in the South Island with 14 Hard courts.The above picture is of Rebecca Gill ready to play her next match.Rebecca played the 4th seed Anastasiya Korzh of Christchurch but went down in a close battle 6-4 7-6.Charlotte Lamb lost her first round match , Hugh Rollinson battled to win a tough three setter whilst younger brother Duncan had a win in his first round of the 8s.The Deely brothers Jack and Ben will be in action later today as well as George Tarbotton.

Annabel Ellis is in Auckland playing the Masters series which is top 8 for each age group .Annabel is first years 14 and will have some tough matches over the three days.Annabel went down 3 and 0 in her first match today.

Above is Annabel sending down at serve at training.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Busy Busy Busy!

I have been leading the Schools Tennis Program in South Canterbury and it never ceases to amaze me the enthusiasm that greets us at each school.The Above picture is our Group for St Jo's Fairlie .Thursdays see us delivering the program to over 160 students in the Fairlie region.Participants this year are St Jo's Fairlie, Fairlie Primary, Mackenzie College and Albury. 

After a hectic day up country its back to the Tennis Center for Tennis South Canterbury squad , the 14s and 16s age group are in action on Thursday's. Below I have posted shots taken yesterday at the center.Gabrielle Grady is pictured working with talented 8 year old Duncan Rollinson, Dino Ilecic leads a fitness session and Sam Lane is stylish on serve.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Loads of talent

Some action shots of Tennis South Canterbury junior squads , above are our talented 10s team whilst below are the 12s. Great to see the rebuilding of junior girl participants and more will be added shortly to our programs.
Some great shots of Oscar Acland (left) and Hugh Rollinson (right) in action from Monday's squads.

Thanks to Basil Valentine for his nice comment on my last post. Basil ( or is that his internet nick ) visited my site from the South Canterbury page and obviously Basil stops by a little looking at how many visits they have made :)

Below is a picture of where people have visited me from over the past few weeks and as you can see my Blog is read all over the world.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aussie Open Tennis Tour with the Eye!

For New Zealander's only , come and join us for the first week of the Australian open just drop me an email for a detailed itinerary

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Coaches

Each Summer I have been lucky to have young tennis coaches from all parts of the world assist over the summer with our tennis program here in South Canterbury.What a great opportunity for young people with tennis in their blood to visit and do something that they love in another part of the world.Recent Summer's have seen Hector Garcia from Mexico,Tyler Begg from Canada and Jeff West from Dallas Texas. All have been very popular here in South Canterbury and each coach has left a lasting impression on the young tennis players of the area.I wish I had done this at their age getting vital life experience in different country's.Pictured left is Dino Ilecic who joins us this year from Sweden.Click HERE to read today's Timaru Herald's story on Dino!This year we have also former outstanding local Junior Gabrielle Grady one of the area's best performed junior tennis players.Gabrielle is here for the term and will depart January on a tennis scholarship to Jacksonville Florida a reward for her tennis dedication. Gabrielle has also coached in Auckland with Gary Swinkels in junior holiday programs. Gabrielle also was part of Tennis New Zealand project Europe spending training in Spain. Her experience will also be very valuable to the coaching this summer.Below is a picture of Gabrielle and Dino decked out in ASB shirts who are big supporters of Tennis South Canterbury.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting to the Top in Tennis is Tough!

ITF junior tournaments have their place in a promising junior tennis player’s pathway to the top. However one can get lost in the quest for rankings points. I have to comment again on ITF junior rankings and how inaccurate they can be and give no real indication where you sit really in the tennis world. One has to look deeper in the point’s race and how a player accumulated those remembering singles and doubles points combine to give you an individual ranking. Also take into account which side of the world you gained most of your points and how many ITF junior events did you play. There are many juniors around the world with not so high ITF rankings but are more talented than a lot that appear in the top 50.If your goal is to get a College scholarship a high ITF ranking will assure you get a highly ranked American College. National Bodies can also reward their players on reaching top 100 and can receive funding for their Junior ITF players. Just to show you how Mickey Mouse results can be in the Juniors I will give some examples. A New Zealand Junior earlier this week was reported to be the highest ranked junior in Australasia (102), and that in itself should send alarm bells ringing in Australia. Looking deeper into results is important when assessing current standings. Losses at the last 7 tournaments were to players ranked, 47, 125, 212, 78, 110, 550, and 479 with three of those losses to girls from Australasia. However it is good to see players such as this testing themselves overseas but I question whether it should be in Cairo Egypt and maybe should be Spain or the USA.

Another New Zealand Junior ranked 132 went into the u18 Boy’s Canadian World ranking tournament this week as top seed. Lost first round to a player from the USA ranked 691.

Jack Sock winner of the boys U18 US OPEN singles title went into this event unseeded. These results are common to a lot of Junior events my advice is don’t get too hung up on ITF rankings test yourself with Futures and Challengers if your potential is there to do this, choose your tournament program wisely , don’t look at points you could get but more on the strength of the tournament. If you are going to make it as a top pro tennis player you will survive playing stronger events , playing weaker events certainly will give you ranking points in the Junior ITF grade! will they transgress to the senior ranks? , I hardly think so!

Tennis is a job for pro players and for many the best they will do is hovering the 350-250 mark .In the real world if you held a Job and performed at this level for 5 years your boss should have fired you by now. If you were running as a business there is so many years of loss you can cope before you go under.
Getting to the top in Tennis is Tough!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

School Holiday Tennis Camps

Above are more pictures from the South Canterbury Region.Enthusiastic children at Temuka and Geraldine.Bottom left is Gabrielle Grady and Dino Ilecic who are assisting the coaching department this year.Nice weather certainly makes it more enjoyable for all concerned coaches and participants.

Monday, October 4, 2010

On The Road Again

Pictured above are kids from Geraldine and Temuka enjoying a Tennis camp we are conducting during the School Holidays at each location.Also above bottom right is new coach Dino Ilecic who has arrived from Sweden to coach tennis with our team over the summer.More about Dino soon .Canterbury Spring Open is being held this week and Annabel Ellis is leading the way with wins today in the 14s age group.I will update this event later this week.

And looks like another player swap with a former New Zealand Junior being listed as Australian.

Women's Final Round Qualifying: Rachel Tredoux (AUS) d Chelsea TeTai (AUS) 5-7 6-3 6-1#Portpirieprotour


Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 2 Highlights- South Canterbury Junior Spring Open Tennis Tournament

A very successful tournament finished today and lots of tennis was provided for competitors from as far a field as Australia.Col and Lynne Maher are frequent visitors to the area.Col a tennis Coach from Young NSW Australia brought 8 Aussie junior tennis players to compete in our tournament and will move on to play Canterbury in Christchurch.Its a great experience for youngsters to visit another country and I am sure a trip like this will be invaluable to their life experience in years to come.You can find all the results here at this LINK
The below video has some highlights and I just could not let Col's group go with out getting them to give a rendition of Advance Australia Fair.....Music to my ears!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

South Canterbury Junior Spring Open 2010 -Highlights Day 1

Rain hampered play on Day 1 however organizers had been able to push through a lot of matches before play was suspended for the day.I have posted a video Highlight package of Day 1 Featuring, Nai Nai from Christchurch,Rebecca Gill, George Tarbotton, Duncan Rollinson,Daniel Kelliher ,Angus Rollinson,Annabel Ellis,Brad Cvtanich,and new Coach Dino Ilecic stringing racquet's.Play will continue tomorrow and results and draws can be found at this LINK

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Summer Fun

The thing about coaching in New Zealand especially outdoor's you have to be prepared for any change of weather conditions from , gale force winds , ice and rain and sometimes perfect summer conditions.When it is a perfect day there is no better place than on a tennis court in South Canterbury.The above pictures are from Fairlie as we did a two day coaching camp earlier this week.A very enthusiastic group improved their tennis skills ready for the coming season.  

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Australia's recent Davis Cup loss to Belgium that puts them back to the peanut gallery competition that includes New Zealand must certainly warrant questions on the current State of Men's Tennis and for that fact the Junior Development program.Sam Stosur has saved Australian Tennis further scrutiny along with imports Groth and Rodionova.Look Deeper into the Women's game and it is worse than the men's.No Junior girl representatives in the last grandslam tournament of the year and a poor showing at Junior Wimbledon by the girls gives us a glimpse of what is in store for the future and its NOT GOOD!Lleyton Hewitt is literally on his last legs and those under him are just not up to a high level in Men's Tennis.Ball was a disaster and Peter Luczak has hovered around the 100's for some time and he is also at the end of his career. So which Australian Male could restore pride in Australian tennis.Davis Cup Captain John Fitzgerald was  upbeat. ''These are tough situations that they haven't faced a lot,'' Fitzgerald said of his young charges such as the 23-year-old Ball.C'mon Fitzy Nadal at 24 has numerous grandslam titles under his belt. And what tough situations are you going to get at 151 in the world?How long do you think it will take a player like Ball to achieve this experience! I am sure the Davis Cup Captain will soon be replaced , however its not his fault and the next Captain will also find the cupboards bare and we are not moving into the Main World Group Davis Cup in the near future.

Lets Look at the current rankings

  1. Lleyton Hewitt | 37 
  2. Peter Luczak| 129 
  3. Carsten Ball | 151 
  4. Matt Ebden | 164 
  5. Marinko Matosevic | 166 
  6. Bernard Tomic | 219 
  7. John Millman | 229 
  8. Greg Jones | 229 
  9. Nick Lindahl | 242 
  10. Brydan Klein | 260 

Take out Hewitt... who then in the above group will come through,In my mind the only player that has a chance is Bernard Tomic who turns 18 soon.His form has not been anything special and is playing currently in Thailand.I can remember watching Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov play each other at Junior Wimbledon and thinking Tomic just does not posses any major weapon whilst the Bulgarian was a shot maker.Dimitrov has just won his third challenger in a row and is now around 142 in the World and rising! Group all the others in the same boat unfortunately I cant see anyone in the above list making top 100 outside Tomic. Pat Rafter had this to say about current Junior tennis "Rafter said there was no secret answer to ending Australia's decline and suggested, if anything, Tennis Australia was pampering the up-and-coming juniors. ''One thing I'm really jamming down the kids' throats is that we've got to make it tougher for them, they've got to toughen up as well and there are ways to do that" he went on to say "By giving them everything, it's not helping to find solutions. If we give them a tough situation where they are on their own for a few months with no coach, no nothing and make them do it tough in Europe, you've got to find different solutions and ways of getting around it. ''It's just life skills to me that these kids could take into their game as well and, when they are on the court, they've got to tough it out for themselves and not have someone tell them what to do all the time.'' Yep Pat you have some Merit in what you say but really Life skills begins at home and that's where the kids have it too easy!!! Ben Mitchell ,James Duckworth and Jason Kubler are some of the teenagers touted to come through.......but I ask come through to where? the 100-150 mark?When you see Juniors like Dimitrov who is coached by an Aussie Peter McNamara then one has little hope for our current juniors. The current challengers in Australia is really just a competition for the locals ...yes some points for rankings but not a true picture where you sit in the World.I was reading the Tennis news boards and someone made this statement commenting on the Aussie guys "That last comment raises the old chestnut of why Tennis Australia can't get the promising youngsters - Klein, Jonesie, Lindahl (all Junior Grand Slam Winners or Finalists/Top 10 Juniors) - to make the transition between the Juniors and Seniors. I still think there is potential for these players to break into and stay in the top 100, given the average age of players in the top 100 is over 25 years old."...Basically Itf junior rankings are Mickey Mouse.Look at American Jack Sock who was unseeded for this years USOPEN junior event and won it....its no guarantee if you have a high ITF junior ranking that you will make it with the big boy's it probably means that your Parents can afford sending you all over the World to places like Egypt and Serbia to gain inflated points that for most looks good on the ITF junior rankings list but means nothing when you enter the pro events.Rafter has the right track we all need to toughen up!!   how we can do that is another question.. Unfortunately for Aussie Tennis it wont be oi oi oi it will be OH OH OH for a few years to come! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Power Up!

Sorry for my non posts for a while.Computer problems one can do with out.But have this sorted and a New Laptop.I will be commenting on a few things in my next posts from the New Rule changes for 10 and under's and Australian tennis and their Davis Cup loss and what we can look forward for the next few years ...that is if your an Aussie Fan which I have to have some loyalty to. OK thought I would share this picture with you , its a photo shop of course , one would think it could be Led Zeppelin , look closer and its some present day tennis players.

I have not got a link for this so I will post a rather lengthy interview from a French Tennis Magazine which I  would certainly give them credit for it if I had the link .

Its with Tony Nadal,Uncle and Coach of Rafael Nadal. Its a great insight in their relationship and how it has developed.

Tennis Magazine: Toni, everybody knows you as the uncle and coach of Rafael Nadal but they know less about your own background. You’ve celebrated your 50th birthday this year (T.M.: he was born on February 17, 1960 in Manacor). Could you briefly describe this half-century?
Toni Nadal: What can I say (smiles)? Like everybody in the family, I was born in Mallorca and I still live there, in Porto Cristo I have three children, one girl and two boys aged 9, 7 and 6. I was the second-born in the family after Sebastian, father of Rafael. I have two other brothers (T.M.: one of which is Miguel Angel, former football player at FC Barcelona) and a sister, quite a bit younger. As you know, we are a very sports-minded family but I was the first to play tennis. I tried a lot of sports, including football of course, but also swimming, table tennis (ping pong) which is the sport in which I managed quite well since I was the junior champion of the Balearic Islands. From the age of 14, I started playing tennis.

T.M.: What triggered your interest in the sport?
Toni: In 1972, I was able to go to the Masters that took place in Barcelona. That year, I saw Ilie Nastase win and he became my idol. So, I started to play in the Tennis Club of Manacor, Rafa’s current club and I’ve been a member since 1974.

T.M.: Quickly, you reached a very good level, by the way…
Toni: Let’s not exaggerate. Let’s say that I had a good regional or national level. I reached group A in the 2nd Spanish category (T.M.: Still, this category grouped the 30 best Spanish players). After that, I no longer disputed a lot of tournaments because I was also studying in Barcelona. I followed law studies because that’s what my father wanted and also history because that interested me more. In a broader perspective, I wasn’t very passionate about those studies. I couldn’t see myself getting a job in it because I could quickly see that I didn’t have the potential.

T.M.: What sort of player were you?
Toni: I had the same style as José Higueras (smiles). I made very few mistakes and I was physically good. The problem was that I did not have a strong shot. I lacked aggressiveness. My backhand was correct but my forehand wasn’t very good.

T.M.: How did you earn a living before becoming Rafa’s coach?
Toni: I was interested in sports so I ended up getting a trainer’s degree and I started to teach in the club in Manacor. Before becoming a football pro, my brother Miguel was in that club as well and he was very good at it because he became the junior champion of the Balearic Islands. There were quite a few very good juniors. Our tennis school has an excellent quality, it’s one of the best on the Balearic Islands.

T.M. And then, Rafa came…
Toni: Rafa was a very good youngster amongst others. I first started to train him in the tennis school where he started in 1990 at the age of 4. It’s only a couple of years later so it seems, in 1996 or in 1997, that I started to focus only on training Rafa. But that was not because we had decided that he would become a professional player. It was too early for that. It was a decision made because it was easier that way. Rafa started to play in a lot of tournaments and he needed somebody to accompany him. Rafa’s dad preferred me to do that and he also backed it financially.

T.M.: So, you took charge of little Rafa and perhaps, you made the most important decision of his life: to let him play with his left hand whereas he’s a natural right-hander. 
Toni: No! That’s a legend… But it’s really not the truth. At the start, he played with two hands but using one hand to direct. I had the impression that he was stronger on his left side than on his right side. So, I figured that he was left-handed; it’s as simple as that. Besides, even if he ate with his right hand, he also played football with his left foot. However, at no point did I tell him: “He needs to play with his left hand because that way, he will be much stronger.” However, since I’m not completely stupid, I simply advised him to use his strongest hand. That’s it. Besides, I don’t think that it’s that much more advantageous to be left-handed. Just look at the world’s best players: there are not many of them there. No, the only thing I did advise Rafa was that at the age of 10, he needed to stop playing his forehand with two hands because no top player had a two-handed forehand and I couldn’t imagine my nephew being the first. So, this is all there is to this story. Would Rafa be as strong now if he used his right hand? That’s something we don’t know and we will never know.

T.M. So, when you started to train only with Rafa, was your first job a huge technical task? 
Toni: No, not really. If you want to work in a healthy way with somebody, the first task is to make him responsible. Even as a kid, Rafa had to be the master of his own tennis decisions. After that, my philosophy as a coach is not to tell a player: “you have to hit that ball this or that way because that’s the way that shot is played.” That’s wrong and you can see how so many players have so many different techniques. I will rather tell a player: “It doesn’t matter how you take that ball, but you need to hit it there with this speed and that sort of effect.” What I mean is that you have to look beyond technique. First of all, you need to know and understand the game. In fact, the work is mostly done on a mental decision-making way. With Rafa, I always set him short term goals. Every day, he needed to be better than the previous one. That’s more important than technique. So, I obviously worked a lot on pure technique as well because otherwise, you wouldn’t be a coach!

T.M.: Do you still use the same training methods now with Rafa?
Toni: yes. But after all, you need to adapt your philosophy to the type of player you’re working with. If I was training Federer, I would probably do more technical work because his game depends a lot on technique and you need to maintain that. Federer is not the sort of player to do leg work (running) all day long.

T.M. Would you love to train Federer?
Toni: No, that’s not what I wanted to say (smiles). You know, when Rafa retires, I don’t think that I could train another player. It would be difficult. I think that I’ll go back to training youngsters.

T.M. Rafa's game is more characteristic game than others, less academic. Is that due to the fact that you gave him more freedom on a technical level?
Toni: Hard to say. Rafa has a very thorough foundation on a technical level. As time passed, he has developed his own game and indeed, it’s a lot different that the game style of others. Since we played a lot on clay, I focused on his forehand, his topspin and his consistency. For me, those were the three most important points.

T.M. Another point that is without a doubt at least as important for you as a trainer but also as his uncle is the upbringing. Today, people applaud him specifically for his perfect upbringing. 
Toni: Yes, that’s true. It’s been essential for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a lot easier to work with somebody who has an exemplary behavior. Secondly, like you said, it’s because Rafa is my nephew. I didn’t want people to have a bad image of him. Having said that, I didn’t do much work in this department. Rafa has always been an easy boy. I don’t remember him misbehaving on a court once; he has never broken a racquet in his life. Generally speaking, I think that people neglect the upbringing all too often. I remember what Ricardo Piatti, trainer of Ivan Ljubicic, once said during a colloquium in Italy: “the problem today is that if you ask a father if he’d prefer to see his son to become the Roland Garros champion rather than a well brought up kid, he’s pick the first option.” Besides, it’s easier to win Roland Garros if you have a good upbringing because that implies that you have discipline, that you can listen and that you can accept your mistakes.

T.M.: Is it true that when he was a kid, you made your nephew believe that you had magical powers?
Toni: Yes (smiles). Rafa was the little boy in the family and everybody always had so much fun with him. As a joke, I made him believe all sorts of things: that I was a star at AC Milan, that I had won the Tour de France five times with a moped (laughs)…Indeed, I also told him that I had magical powers. One day, he must have been about 7 or 8, we lacked a player in the 12-year group to compete in a team event. I took him along with us and to reassure him, I told him that he didn’t need to worry if the match went badly because I have the ability to make it rain. It was winter. So, when the match got tight at the start, it started to rain and then, Rafa turned to me and said: “It’s alright, you can make it stop now, I’m going to win!” Another time, we were watching a match of Ivan Lendl on tv. It was a replay of an older match during which Lendl retired. Rafa didn’t know that. So, at the exact moment when Lendl retired, I told him: “Alright, I’m going to make Lendl lose.” He couldn’t believe his eyes. I have a lot of examples like that.

T.M.: When you think back to those moments and you look at him now with his incredible achievements, isn’t it you who can’t believe your eyes now? 
Toni: I am surprised by his career, yes. Because I look around us and I see a lot of players who are just as good as he is: Murray, Djokovic, Gasquet, for example…These are players who perhaps have an easier touch of the ball. And yet, Rafa has by far the best career. So, you ask me whether I’m surprised. Yes, I am. I’ll go even further, I don’t understand it.

T.M.: But don’t you think that Rafa has something more than the others in this regard? 
Toni: Perhaps so, yes. He has an incredible game intensity and a good mentality. I think that he has a better mental control than the others.

T.M.: At the start of his career, a lot of people said: “his game is too intense, it won’t last…”
Toni: (interrupts) But a lot of people talk without understanding what they’re talking about.

T.M.: So, you don’t share this opinion?
Toni: No. You basically need to understand one thing. When he arrived on tour, he was very young and not really ready for all of it. He made his debut among the 200 best players of the world at the end of 2002 and we didn’t foresee that to happen this quickly. However, suddenly, he needed to step it up to keep up with the tour. All year long, Rafa had to play against adults whereas he was just a boy. In those circumstances, the only thing he could do on court was to run and to run everywhere. It’s true that in the beginning of his career, he did nothing but that. However, this is the image that has stuck with him often without people noticing that gradually, his game was evolving. Today, if you really look at him, he doesn’t run any more than the other players on court. So, it’s true that his forehand is not as fast as Söderling’s because he has learned to play with more topspin. However, just look at the last Roland Garros final and you will see that Rafa ran much less than Söderling. Same when you look at the semi-final in Wimbledon against Murray but in a different context. That must mean that his tennis is good, no? If Rafa had started out on tour later than he has, when he was already fully formed, people would surely not have said this about him.

T.M. What about the future? Will you work on evolving his game some more?
Toni: (thinks). The most important thing is to make sure that you do something better than how you did it on the previous day. Because if you stop improving, you’re dead. So, rather than evolving, I would call it improvement.

T.M.: Does it make you sad that people talk more about his physique and his mental ability than about his technique and his talent? 
Toni: Today, people want to talk about everything but without going deeper into the matter. You need to look at things more carefully and with more objectivity. Certain people have said that Rafa doesn’t have a very good technique. But what is that, technique? Is it hitting the ball very hard and with a beautiful movement but once out of every two hits, it lands outside the court? Is it to have a very good forehand, a very good serve but no backhand? No. For me, technique is about being able to place the ball wherever you want it to land with no matter what shot. This is what Rafa can do. So, perhaps he doesn’t have the same technique as Federer, but he does have an excellent technique. A good forehand, a good backhand that he can slice, a correct volley…He has a hand that allows him to do a lot of things.

T.M. Basically, don’t you have the impression that Rafa’s talent is often underestimated?
Toni: I don’t know. People can think whatever they want anyway. It’s not a problem for me. I do think that they overestimate his physique. If you compare him with French players like Monfils or Tsonga, I’d say that they have a better physique, they’re more strongly built. They say that Rafa is always there to hit the ball but I think that this has more to do with his excellent anticipation skills and a very good perception of the game.

T.M. You say that you don’t attach a lot of importance to what others say about Rafa. However, you were affected last year with how they whistled at Rafa in Roland Garros…(note: in 2009, the year of his first (and so far only) defeat in the 1/8 final against Robin Söderling, the public firmly supported the Swede)
Toni: I’m not saying that I don’t attach a lot of importance to it, I’m saying that people are entitled to think whatever they want. I think that the Roland Garros public was very incorrect that day. In sports, it’s good to cheer for somebody’s victory but it’s not normal to wish defeat on somebody else. I’ve often repeated it to my nephew, who is a keen supporter of Real Madrid as you know, that I understand that he wants Real to win but I always told him that he should not wish defeat on Barcelona. I know that a lot of fans are like that but I think it’s a rather dumb way of going about it. Anyway, we’re not brought up like that in our family, that’s not what we’ve been taught. It’s for that reason that I was shocked by the way the Parisian public acted and even more so for three reasons: Firstly because Rafa has always been a very correct player, secondly because he was the defending Roland Garros champion and thirdly, because he’s given a lot to that public by giving many autographs and such. So, to support Söderling, yes. No problem. But to whistle at Rafa, no.

T.M.: Have you forgiven the Parisian public these days?
Toni: I don’t have to forgive them for anything. This is my opinion on what happened, that’s all. This year, things were better, much better.

T.M.: How far do you see Rafa going from this point on?
Toni: I have no idea. If he happens to win no more tournaments, we’re not going to make a projection about it. Our only goal is to play well, to improve ourselves. That’s the best way to reach serenity: to do the things as best as you can. Rafa has the opportunity to do professionally something he loves above all else. It’s up to him to do his best and that’s easier to do when you love what you’re doing. Beyond that, we’re not focused on accumulating Grand Slam tournaments because that’s not entirely up to us. You have other players to deal with. The work we put in it is the only thing that depends totally on us.

T.M. Do you think that Rafa will be able to play until he’s 35 for instance?
Toni: No, I don’t think so. A lot of people predicted him to have a short career and this career is already going strong for 8 years now. But anyway, you have to consider that he started on tour when he was very young and I think that by the age of 27 or 28, fatigue will start to set in. We’ll see.

T.M. How do you explain that you Nadals have such strong minds?
Toni: I think that a lot has to do with upbringing. One of the key elements that’s instilled on us is that in life, you have to face difficulties head-on. You can’t think like a child that everything is beautiful. There will always be problems and you need to take them on. In tennis, like in life, you have to accept your mistakes, realize that you have to learn a lot in order to do less and you have to put in the necessary work to get there. This is what we’ve always done with Rafa. From when he was little, I made it so that things didn’t always go smoothly. So, unlike other kids today, he has learned that things don’t always happen the easy way, not right away. We had to deal with a lot of problems together like his serve which was really not good at the start. That’s a key ingredient in sports, no? Tennis means hitting the ball back and forth over the net, there is no other signification. However, tennis becomes a passion when you measure the mental effort it requires, when you sum up all the difficulties you've encountered and when you gradually, step by step, start to rise above these obstacles. This is a good summary of Rafa’s career. Whatever happens in the future, I can assure you that he’ll leave a happy and satisfied man with all that he has accomplished.