Monday, April 26, 2010

Back on Deck

Sorry for the lack of post's but had too visit family in Australia I have a grandmother that is 102 and it was great to get back and see this remarkable lady.She was not in the best health but I am pleased to say she is back to being as alert as ever.Just recently she had lived in her own home but mobility has forced her to hospital and I spent what time I had in Australia visiting her daily.Whilst there Former world number one doubles player Paul McNamee has been defeated in an election to be the new president of Tennis Australia by New South Wales lawyer Steve Healy. Healy, president of Tennis NSW since 2007, pipped the two-time Wimbledon doubles champion and twice Australian Open champion McNamee in a ballot in Melbourne Monday.Healey has big plans as he will try to bring Australia to the fore once more.
There a two major issues that seem to go unnoticed that determines if you are going to make it as a tennis player and that can be 1.geographical Location, the balance of power has switched to the other side of the world and what we need this side is depth ,its too easy to win tournaments and be ranked in the top of age groups here.In Australia there is a little more depth but still not enough and here in New Zealand too many Parents get carried away at their child's National ranking .The point I am saying is that its too easy , and this has eaten into the culture, how hard does one work to get to Number 1 in our location? If you had twenty guys or girls above you all vying for number one then your training ethics must improve and in doing the social aspect that is a big part here in New Zealand and Australia must give way to more practice time, and more quality tournaments and you must focus on one particular sport to reach the top ,the earlier you put your eggs in one basket the better, this is more relevant here in New Zealand than Australia.Tennis is a year round sport ask Roger Federer does he take the winter off !!!There are many social implications that face the youth of today and we have too much going on to find a number of really dedicated tennis players to improve depth.The few that show the talent and the want need to get where the action is at an early age and readers its not here.If you want to be ranked top 100 in the world you have to get out of the country at an early age.The next major issue is Money and lets face it once you reach a certain level you need CASH .Let me say there are some wealthy parents spending lots of money on their child but at the end of the day that child needs mentally to have the will to practice, fight for wins and forgo a lot of other activities but alas not many can do this.Too many of our ranked juniors get it too easy and this shows through when you start to meet better players.The 16 and under New Zealand boys team finished tenth in the Asia pacific zone to qualify for the World playoffs.You have to finish fourth to do so.And to be truthful its hardly an exciting age group if we are looking for the future.This is the order of teams where they finished 1. [1] Japan, 2. [4] Australia, 3. [3] China, 4. [2] India, 5. [5] Korea, 6. [6] Uzbekistan, 7. Chinese Taipei, 8. [8] Thailand, 9. Hong Kong, 10. New Zealand, 11. Indonesia, 12. Kazakhstan, 13. Malaysia, 14. Syria, 15. Philippines, 16. Pakistan.The girls competition has started today and it will be of interest to see how New Zealand finish but I would expect a better showing than the boys.And so with using the above picture I am saying that time is of the essence, my grandmother can vouch that 100 years passes quickly and the span of a potential junior tennis player so much quicker , the talent is around but it can be lost by circumstance's beyond our control..........I am interested in hearing other thoughts about what juniors need to do to reach a serious World ranking, being top 100. Please leave some comments.


  1. Steve

    Good to see yr Nanna still going strong 102 is a fabulous innings ...

    As for NZ tennis where to start. Small population = small talent pool in a truly global sport.

    To justify funds spent Tennis NZ actively promotes the big fish mentality when in reality its a very tiny pond. Boys U16 10th in Asia Pacific is pathetic but they prob think they are rock stars. However if funding is only distributed to the true potential stars then the game loses its grassroots as talented athletes will chooose another sporting option for their talent

    Yr much closer to NZ tennis clearly but Im interested in yr view. How does NZ solve the issue of a small talent pool, tyraany of distance and alternative sporting choices for its athletes without wasting valuable resources on the moderately talented ...

    perhaps a blog subject "what i would do if i controlled the $" ....

  2. Good to hear from you Neil! Firstly a very simplistic approach is needed in many areas ,creating programs and events that make tennis a year round sport here is the first step and probly a very difficut step, but it has to happen too many talented juniors turn to their winter sport and you cannot keep losing this time over a 6-7 yr period, incentives and events are needed to keep these talented juniors focused during the winter ....otherwise we end up losing out from both the administrators wanting success in tennis and a lot of sporting kids becoming jack of all trades but master of none!Thats my first point of many so more funding is needed here for sure...Have a look at the New Zealand tennis calander for MAY to Aug .There simply is no plan and Tennis gives up to the winter sport, just like the circuit its a fight to get to the top why lay down and put your feet in the air!! Well as I said i have many points but this is one of the first.

  3. Hi Steve and your other reader Neil.

    If the money is given to the true stars showing absolute potential then i believe grass roots would be in a better future position as they will eventually have genuine tennis stars to look up to and follow.The problem is that we are too hung up on the instant reward philosophy.The fast food mentality is
    hurting us and our tennis results.Coaches have the fast food mentality as do the parents as do tennis nz, tennis australia etc.They are scared of losing their customers so try for the quick fix solution.

    Money can't save us Steve. We need a cultural change first.

    In relation to winter sports and our tennis calender, Lets be honest Steve if there were any truly gifted athletes out there in the tennis arena they would go to the main stream sports instead of one that costs so much and is so hard to succeed at.
    Tennis NZ must support this thinking by not having anything in it's calender for those months.(perhaps tnz get a kick back from rugby or league ?)