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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Nadal Joins Legends of Tennis - Wins US OPEN for the first time.

I hate to tell anyone I told you so. Nadal has now added The US OPEN men's titles to his Australian, Wimbledon and French titles. Just seven men including Federer have won all four Grandslam titles.A fully fit Nadal is now unbeatable on any surface.His quest to improve his game have put critics and knockers in a spin saying he was just a clay courter. .....    Its an inspiration for young junior tennis players to aspire  to Nadal and a credit to his coach Uncle Tony in achieving this mile stone win.Nadal is so tough that he can keep up a high level of play for the duration of a match very few of his competitors can match even Federer.Mentally no one compares with Nadal he gives very little away and keeps control of the play with his ground strokes as much as he can sending the opponents corner to corner.Nadal is one of the hardest workers on the circuit and a role model for young juniors.Put in the hours and you will be rewarded but in doing so you must sacrifice a lot in your life and there are very few who can actually do this.Nadal deserves all the success he achieves ....all those hours of hitting ball after ball is paying off. VAMOS RAFA!


Q. Congratulations. It's a remarkable achievement what you did out there tonight and in such an impressive fashion with such great play. Now you have the career Grand Slam. Talk about what tonight means to you and this trophy means to you.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, well, just thank you very much, first thing. Yeah, it was amazing feeling. I think win against Novak is always very, very difficult, and the results say that lots of times, I lost against him. So I think for the first time in my career I played a very, very good match in this tournament. That's my feeling, no? I played my best match in the US Open at the most important moment, so I am very, very happy for that, for sure.
Q. In the career Grand Slam, though...
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, I know, for you, very important, that. (Laughter.) You know, I still 24. I have, I know, for me, it's a dream have the career Grand Slam, but this is more dream have the US Open. Is some moments unbelievable feeling because I worked a lot all my life, in all difficult moments to be here, but I never imagined have the four Grand Slams.
Q. Can you talk a little bit how you've improved your hardcourt game? Because obviously you started on clay and then you made a big adjustment for grass. What have you done to become a champion on hardcourts?
RAFAEL NADAL: I did, in 2009, I won in Australia, too.
Q. But you're better now.
RAFAEL NADAL: Maybe, or maybe not. I don't know. (Laughter.) Is part of the moment and part of the situation, no? And part of the confidence. So always when you are playing well and when you are in the right moment with big confidence, seems like you improved a lot. But, you know, there are moments when you are not playing that good, when you lose your confidence, you lose matches, and seems like you are not playing that good and you forgot to play tennis. It's not like this, and it is not like this I improved a lot since 2009. I think I improved my tennis a little bit but is not a radical change, no? Sure, to win in here in the US Open I think is the more difficult tournament for me to play, more difficult conditions to adapt, to adjust my game on this court, for the balls, for the court, for everything, no? In Australia, anyway, if it's hot, the ball, the bounce are higher. And in
Wimbledon, is true I have to adjust a lot my game to play in Wimbledon, but in my opinion, play in Wimbledon for me always wasn't that bad, because one of the most important things on Wimbledon is the movements, and I think my movements are good to play well in that surface. The surface help me, because my serve was not that good, that I have today, and with less serve I can do it the same, the same to the opponent as what I have today at this tournament especially and with this serve and with the US Open. For that reason I think the hardcourt always was the most difficult surface to play good for me, especially with the serve because I have to play almost every point, and probably the serve make the big difference in this tournament.
Q. I think you're strong mentally keep point for completing Grand Slam. How you keep your mental so strong, consistent?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. I think my the practice is done a lot of years ago, so is not the moment now that I have. I am strong now because I think practice everything you can practice everything. I think the mentality, I practice it a lot, my mentality, a lot when I was a kid, so right now for me it is a little bit easier, I think.
Q. What do you think you have to accomplish to convince yourself that you're ahead of Roger, maybe the greatest ever?
RAFAEL NADAL: Remain a lot of titles, so that's no doubt about that, no? I think I am more than happy that with my titles, for sure I think is talk about if I am better or worse than Roger is stupid, because the titles say he's much better than me, so that's the true at that moment. I think will be the true all my life. But, sure, for me, always, always Roger was an example, especially because he improved his tennis I think during all his career, and that's a good thing that you can copy, no? So I try to copy this, and I know Roger and me are different, much different styles. Being better than Roger I don't think so is the right moment to talk about that, because I am I don't think that.
Q. What do you think the future of your rivalry is with him? How long do you think it will last?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don't know. Well, now Novak is, too, but he has to defend a lot of points now in the end of the season now, Novak, too. He gonna have his chance to be win the year No. 2, Novak, too. But Roger is there, too, to finish No. 2. You know, we start every year, and a lot of new players and good players are there like well, not new, Novak and Andy are not new, 
Andy Murray, but always come new players, very good players. But for the last six years, Roger and me was we were No. 1 and No. 2, no? So that's probably a great rivalry since that six years. We will see what happens in the future. I am not a genius.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about today's rain delay, what you did during that time and what you told yourself about the match?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, well, the delay, it wasn't in the right moment for me, but just go back to the locker room, have a shower, and have all the tapes another time. That's what I did.
Q. What did you tell yourself about the match at that point?
RAFAEL NADAL: Nothing special, no? I think -- I thought before the match gonna be very difficult for me to win this match today, because the style of Novak is very difficult for me, because he play aggressive, he play very inside the court with very complete shots on the baseline, forehand and backhand, and difficult for me. But I started the match feeling the ball great, and for me what I said to myself is I did another time, so I can do it another time. So just be there, fight every point and try to play with high intensity all the time, so I know if I play with high intensely, put a lot of balls inside and play long. Finally, I think he can be more tired than me, so if the match is long, I think I gonna have a little bit of advantage, and that's what I thought before the match. But if he starts to play like he did in 
Paris, is true indoor is different, my level is completely different now than what I did in the Masters 1000 in Paris last year, but when he's playing at his best, he's very difficult to stop.
Q. I'm sorry we broke a tradition. Normally when the winner of the Grand Slam comes in the media room, everybody claps. We didn't do it tonight. (Applause.) Second thing, you're ahead of Roger being 24 years old of three Slams. I'd like to know, now that you lost only five times the serve in all tournament, only one set, what is your goal now? Because you won already everything, Davis Cup, Olympic Games, all the four Slams. Is the major goal to reach Roger or something else?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is very, very -- is too far. 16 for me is too far for me to think about that, no?
Q. So what else?
RAFAEL NADAL: My goal is all the time and all my life was the same, is keep improving and feel myself better player next year than what I felt this year. Being better player doesn't mean you gonna win more than you did, because win or lose sometimes is part of the moment and part of the confidence. But my goal remains for me that the Masters Cup is the big, yeah, probably the last big tournament that I didn't win. That's true is the most difficult title for me to win, because we play it in indoor, and when indoor, indoor very quick surface, so gonna be always very difficult if we don't change that. But at the same time is a challenge for me to keep improving to have the chance to play well there and to have the chance to win. So that's what I gonna try this year. For me right now the next goal is try to finish the season much better than what I did in other years. The last part of the season always was difficult for me. Well, today it started to be less difficult, that's true. But, yeah, I want to finish the season if it's possible with a good feeling.
Q. I spoke to Mats Wilander, and he said that you are the most improved player this year. You've won 21 matches and only dropped 2 sets. He says you're one hell of a special athlete. What could you do to improve since you've done so much with all these titles? How do you think you can improve?
RAFAEL NADAL: For me the most important thing is try to keep serving like I did during this tournament. I think that's if I can do it, this most of the times gonna be a big change for me and my tennis career, because if I have that free points that I had during all this tournament gonna be different for me. I can play more aggressive. I can play with more calm when I am returning. So can change a lot. So that's, for me, the first very important part to keep improving. After that, I can improve everything: volley, keep improving the volley, keep improving the position on court, being more inside the court. I improved a lot since last year, but never is enough. I am not a perfect player, so everybody can improve.
Q. Did you expect such good play from Novak in the second set?
RAFAEL NADAL: I expect everything from Novak because he's the No. 2 of the world, and his level is very, very high. I'm sure he gonna win this tournament very soon, no? Because his level is unbelievable, and I think he has the right game to win here and to win in almost every place, no, or in every place. So I wish him the best of luck, because he's a great athlete, but at the same time is a great, great person. When he lose, is not easy to do it what he do all the time when he lose matches. That's very positive for the sport and great example for everybody.
Q. You've achieved so much over these brief years starting maybe with the clay court streak and then winning in so many different circumstances. In the big picture, we sort of debate what are your greatest strengths. What do you think your greatest strengths are as a champion? Is it strokes or focus, willingness to make changes, attitude? What do you think are your two or three greatest strengths?
RAFAEL NADAL: What's my best thing? I think the mentality, attitude on court I think always was good for me. I am positive on court, and I fight all the time. But not the only thing. Positive attitude is not only fight on court. I think I was able to listen all the time to the coach and to have adjustments and to be ready to change things to be better and to improve. So probably that's was the best thing for me. If we talk about the game, for sure for me I think the best thing that I have is my intensity on court, no? When I am playing well, the intensity always is high. The rhythm is high. Sometimes yes but not always I have easy winners or with one shot winner, but I can have winners after three, four shots having a great rhythm all the time, no? So the focus on court I think was -- that's similar, no, the rhythm and focus. I can, I think, play at the same rhythm and the same level long time. So that's what I think my best thing is.
Q. He did a great job fighting off breakpoints. Did this make you nervous, or what did you think when he actually converted with so many great shots?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, on the statistics of the ATP I was No. 1 on breakpoints converted, so I think after this tournament I don't want to be No. 1 on breakpoints converted. Sure, because the second set I had big chance to go for the second break and decide the set before. I had to serve for the set with 5 4, and that's always dangerous. That's when I didn't convert any chance of the to do the second break. For sure was a little bit nervous for me, because especially on the 5 4 I have 15 30. So that was a very important moment, and at that moment I did something that I never did: three serves, one ace and two service winners. So that's the big experience for me, and believe me, that's good.
Q. Can you describe how much things have changed for you in the past 12, 15 months, whether you're surprised at how fast things have changed?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, the life change sometimes, no? Ten months ago seems like I never gonna be another time the same. Now seems I gonna be one of the greatest, so I don't think that's not that bad in that moment and not that good in this moment. So always is in the middle, I think, no? Last year I had a difficult year. Well, I had a great year because when you win a Grand Slam and three Masters 1000 you have a great year, but is true the second half of the year was very difficult for me, have some personal problems, home, and after, I have a lot of injuries, here the abdominal, before, the knees. So, yeah, wasn't an easy year. But is, at the same time, for sure, is not good have these moments but live these moments but at the same time, yes, because after that, when you come back, you are ready to (through translation) value how difficult is win titles and how difficult is be there all the time, no? When I came back and I started to win in 
Monte Carlo, you know, the emotion is completely different. So when you are winning and winning for a moments, you forgot how difficult this is do, is do it, no, is win tournaments no? So I didn't win a tournament for 11 months. I played for six months very bad. So after that, I think I was ready to come back in January of this year. I started the season playing really well, but the titles didn't came since I started in Monte Carlo, so was four months of playing well but hard moments, too. I was ready to win but without a victory. So I think I was I had great mentality at that moment.
Q. This is not a criticism, but what took you so long to get in here after you left the court? Were you celebrating with your family? Taking a shower? What were you doing that took you so long to get in here?
Q. To come over here. What took you so long? It's not a criticism. But what were you doing?
Q. Yeah.
RAFAEL NADAL: I had the control antidoping, and saying hello, all the US Open staff and say thanks, everybody, for the organization, for the facilities that they give me, they give to me. After that, I was with the authorities, they came, thank you very much. Infanta, she came. Cristina, sorry. Cristina came. And the president of the Spanish Federation and the family. Just be out there for the family for a few minutes, and afterwards I was in the locker room organization, and having (through translation) planning? No. Organizing all the clothes. I have show in the locker.
Q. I know you don't like to compare, all right? You don't like to compare this and that and that, but you had so many celebrations, so many great moments in your career, and I saw you last this summer celebrating like if you were crazy when Spain won the World Cup in soccer. I'd like to know which is the emotion that really, you know, that causes you more joy in your life as being the most, the biggest that you never forget more than others?
RAFAEL NADAL: Every feeling is different and at the same time is good, no? Every victory is special, if we speak about my victories. Some ones are more than other ones. This one is very special for me, because is the last one remain. So when Spain won the World Cup was amazing. I was crying like like today, maybe, no? But is different feelings, but at the same time every feeling is unbelievable. But is very difficult to compare. Football is unbelievable. You know how big is football in Spain, or maybe you don't know, but we deserved that title. (Laughter.) We deserved that title a few years ago. Maybe you forgot. You forgot about the World Cup of '94 here? (Laughter.) (Motioning with elbow .) But we don't forgot. It was very emotional moment for us, for World Cup.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


First off a few thoughts on the Djokovic versus Federer Semi Final.The scoreline to me actually flattered Federer.66 unforced errors by anyone at this stage of a tournament is going to assure you to be on the losing end.I am amazed that Fed had 2 match points and Djokovic could only win the match in 5 sets. Fed has played every US OPEN final for the past 6 years and all good things must come to an end.This is what happens to great champions with so many wins under the belt how hungry are you really when the pressure is on..and to me Federer gave the impression that he's been here done that and its just another match.Well maybe not just another match but for example , look at his body language and the look in ones eye compared to Nadal and its No wonder I have selected Nadal to beat Djokovic in this years Final.The draw has worked out to be very kind to Rafa and he has had the easiest run to the final for sure.Aided by his new found extra service power and his will and determination plus his great athletic ability Nadal will beat the Djoker.Nadal will have a chance of joining some of the greats of all time who have won all four majors.If he wins he has the chance to win 4 successive grandslam singles titles .Some will say that is a grandslam but I still believe that  a Grandslam is winning all four majors in a Calender  year.Certainly the Djoker has the game but his will against Nadal's will is not as strong.Nadal has his best chance to win the one title that has eluded him.

Just a congratulation's To Kim Clijsters for retaining her US OPEN title defeating Vera Zvonareva in a one sided Ladies Final.Kim along with Venus Williams were the two class players of the field and its no surprise to me that the winner of this semi went on to the title.

Finally the USA gets some glory with the two boys Jack Sock and  Denis Kudla reaching the boys final.Two Russian will battle out the girls event. 

Australia should be asking questions on their current juniors who are failing to cut it against the best in the World.New Zealand and Aussie players of the future are now playing tournaments in Australia and looking at the first tournament... there is nothing special going on there. You can keep an eye on the Kiwi's and Aussie's at each event by clicking on this LINK

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I guess sometimes predicting Women's tennis matches its a 50/50 call a lot of times ,my selections proved that yesterday!Below are my Men's Semi's selection.

Rodger Federer Vs Novak Djokovic - The toughest Semi on paper, Novak has the ability to hurt Federer and seems to be going along ok after his first round hiccup . Federer also looks hungry and if it comes down to wills then Federer is more stable on the big points. I think Rodger maybe in 4.

Rafael Nadal Vs Mikhail Youzhny - Nadal has been here at Grandslam Level before and this is all too valuable going into a match like this.On the other hand the Russian has nothing to lose and can throw the "kitchen sink" at Rafa.
Nadal will get there through ability and desire!This event he has never won and its a considerable driving force for him.

Ok was this a handshake or was this Soderling being an ass! LINK Leave me a comment on what you think!

Continuing my Photoshop Pictures I came across this take on a movie soon to be released here is the original poster.And then the hilarious spin version!.


Friday, September 10, 2010


A perfect score with selections yesterday as Nadal and Youzhny go on to fight another day .Below are my selections for Ladies Semi Finals.

Caroline Wozniacki Vs Vera Zvonareva - Both in form and this is a hard one to call. Vera has been more stable mentally and hence better results.Wozza has lived up to her Number 1 seeding.Who can handle the pressure the best will win ,I'm leaning towards the girl form Denmark.

Kim Clijsters Vs Venus Williams - Kimmy will have to play her best tennis and this week its been very patchy. Venus without sister Serena in the event will give her best to make sure she keeps up the Williams name. Will indeed be very tight  ,,,,nearly as tight as Venus's dress that comes up nearly over her head and must tire her during the match , pulling it back down.For that reason alone my money is on Kimmy.

Yours truly is the only Competitor left in the Tipping contest my tip for the Semi Final round is Roger Federer. 

Meanwhile Fernando Verdasco tips Federer to win the Final beating Nadal.He had this to say.

"He's playing good," said Verdasco. "If I am not wrong, I think that he will play the final against Roger. It's gonna be a tough match, because I think Roger play really good in these conditions. It's going to be a very tough final for Rafa if he plays against Roger in the final.

"I think if I need to bet here, I will bet for Roger. I think that he won five times here and he like these conditions."

I will give my opinion once the Semi Finals are completed.Wawrinka was unlucky in his match with Youzhny, needs to get a little fitter in my opinion... he has the talent but for me this aspect cost him big time yesterday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


A perfect selection round yesterday so will try my best again today. The Nadal - Federer showdown is moving closer and it would be great if they could meet here in my opinion.Both going for History but both have to get there first.

Selections Today.

Stanislas Wawrinka Vs Mikhail Youzhny - Mikhail has great chance to get to the semi's in his way the Swiss other player who can step a little from Roger's Shadow if he can win this.Fitness will play the key and the Russian has the edge.

Rafael Nadal Vs Fernando Verdasco - I'm not sure if we will reach the high standard of their previous Australian Open Meeting, Nadal has a date with history to keep and Fernando just hasn't got that mental edge.Nadal will hit enough balls back and keep the pressure on at vital times to draw the error from Verdasco.

We are down to three players left in My US Open Contest .Good luck for the remaining rounds everyone.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


5 out of 6 correct selections yesterday.The one I missed was Stan the Man beating Querrey in 5 .Did say it was a 50/50 call.Querrey was the last American male standing! Here is an except from a blog that describes the difference between the Americans and the Euro's

Americans serve bigger but don’t move as well as the Euros. Their two-handed backhands largely limit their games to the backcourt. They rally and blast, rather than construct, from the baseline. Isner has had a great year, but Youzhny was the superior player in all facets the other night. Ditto for Fish—great year, but he was outclassed by Djokovic. Querrey and Wawrinka were dead even for four sets, but Wawrinka’s one-hand backhand gave him the flexibility to mix in a new look after four hours.Read the the rest of the Article here.

Another interesting article on Stan Wawrinka the other Swiss player .LINK

So questions again will be asked of American Tennis and their Development programs! America and Australia used to be the World powers of tennis.Australian tennis is in worse shape than the Americans and really apart from Stosur it was as I predicted a pathetic showing by the Aussies at the US Open.

Selections for Day 10

Kaia Kanepi Vs Vera Zvonareva - Kanepi has had a great tournament so far and so in fact has Vera.This should be tight and just giving the nod to the Russian.

Gail Monfils Vs Novak Djokovic - The Djoker is far from joking this tournament!

Caroline Wozniacki Vs Dominika Cibulkova- Have to go with the top seed.

Robin Soderling Vs Roger Federer - Match of the day ! This is going to really test Federer.I am expecting this to be close.I'm hoping for a Fed and Rafa final.So will go with the Fed express.


My Blog always gets busy around Grandslam time and increasing hits world wide.I am posting a picture of hits and country's that have logged on to my page over the past few days.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A very quick post today along with my selections for today's matches. 

Stanislas Wawrinka Vs Sam Querrey - This is going to be a very interesting match-up ,Can Stan the Man carry on his Giant Killing form ,Querrey has to serve well as Wawrinka will be too good off the ground. 50/50 call here ,Wawrinka had an injury cloud during the Murray Match. Home ground advantage for this one.

Francesca Schiavone  vs Venus Williams - This will be like David and Goliath,
Venus to get there but would like to see Francesca get the money.

Rafael Nadal Vs Feliciano Lopez - Great friends but that wont stop Nadal beating his buddy at this stage of the tournament.

Mikhail Youzhny Vs Tommy Robredo - Tommy is having a new lease of life here at the Open, I think his great run will end here.

David Ferrer Vs Fernando Verdasco- Great tournament  for the Spanish men Verdasco has promised so much but rarely delivered , maybe this tournament is the one.

Sam Stosur Vs Kim Clijsters -Kim will exploit Sam's movement and lack of defence which was very noticeable against Elena D.

Monday, September 6, 2010


I must be still suffering from the earthquake as I had some disastrous selections yesterday. I promise not to be away with the fairies for Day 8.!

Svetlana Kutnetsova Vs Dominika Cibulkova - Kutnetsova is showing much improvement by her improved fitness.

Mardy Fish Vs Novak Djokovic - Novak will get there at the end of the day hits too many balls back for Fish.

Caroline Wozniacki Vs Maria Sharapova - This should be the best of the round! I think Maria will take out the top seed.

Andrea Petkovik Vs Vera Zvonareva - Vera your on a roll!

Jurgen Melzer Vs Roger Federer - Fed always cleans this type of player up at exactly this time of the tournament.

Richard Gasquet Vs Gail Monfils - Battle of the Frenchman ! Will be close Monfils will defend better Gasquet more attacking. Ok Richard I have the money on you !

Kaia Kanepi Vs Yanina Wickmayer - Kanepi is promising Yanina is gritty.

Robert Soderling Vs Albert Montanes - Robert a little more fire power .


I really want to like Andy Murray but why do I always go for his opposition! I guess I find Andy very much in the Hewitt mould. He is always complaining , looking and yelling at his box ...punching his racquet strings .Andy I think if you are too win a grandslam you must block out your support box stop using senseless energy in whining and focus on your job at hand no matter what your  situation is! When you do this I reckon you will win a Slam.

Finally Tennis Australia must be disappointed with the Aussies in general at the US Open.I bet their web site wont be telling the real story. The Men's results are pathetic .The qualifying was a disaster with some of the so called stars of the future not progressing.Carsten Ball was the only Male that won a match in the Main draw.Thank Goodness for Sam Stosur! Sally Peers did come through qualies and won her first round match but Clijsters cleaned her up easily in a lacklustre match 2 nd round. Now Australia did not have one junior girl competing in the Junior Girls draw not even the qualifying!In the boys section Jason Kubler the 6th seed exited to Evan King of the USA who was unseeded.To make matters even worse James Duckworth the 9th seed was also beaten by an unseeded player.Ben Wagland also exited on the first day to completely decimate the Aussie contingent! Now don't you think Tennis Australia you start telling the real story on your player development program and although their have been questions asked ....they need to be answered don't you think? These players have to harden up and so does Tennis Australia!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


A little better with the selections yesterday 13 out of 16 up.Hope I can maintain that form for today's selections.

Ana Ivanovic Vs Kim Clijsters - Ana has had three wins I refuse to tip her on past performance beat Kimmy and I will have to rethink!!!

Shahar Peer Vs Venus Williams - Great another Venus designed outfit ...really the only interest I will have in this match!

Mikhail Youzhny Vs John Isner - This is a tricky contest ,I'm going with the Russian for his versatility.

Samantha Stosur Vs Elena Dementieva - This will be a great match if Stosur can produce her form from last round .Australia on a roll with the rugby and the netball so will stick with Grandslam Sam.

Rafael Nadal Vs Giles Simon - Another test for Rafa , if he is a serious contender he has to beat a player like Simon. Will be tough.

Sam Querrey Vs Nicolas Almagro - Another tough one , could go either way, despite home ground advantage I will pick the Spaniard

Francesca Schiavone Vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova - C'mon Franny beat this alphabet .

David Nalbandian Vs Fernando Verdasco - Toss a coin for this one! I think Nalbandian if he has the desire.

Andy Murray Vs Stan Wawrinka - Murray seems to always get over Stan the Man...I tip Murray but won't be disappointed  if Stan gets there.

Feliciano Lopez Vs Sergiy Stakhosvky - Dare I go for the unseeded Ukrainian or the seed . Will throw caution to the wind! 

Tommy Robredo Vs Michael Llodra - Ok I will pick the french man this time!

David Ferrer Vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver - Ferrer should get the money.

The first round of the Juniors get under way with Local New Zealander Ben Mclachlan competing. Look for plenty of upsets in the juniors.American Jack Sock played in the Men's going down in 4 sets and will be hard to beat.He is unseeded , as I have said before many Juniors have inflated points and when quality players come into the draw are found wanting.Sock is ranked 651 ATP whilst many players in the Juniors Draw have only had Junior experience .One can waste too much time playing the Junior Tour and at the end of the day lots of money spent and not much reward in transition to senior ranks.

Finally another clever photo Shop creation can you guess these all time greats .Only one can get that honour in my opinion because they have won each of the Grand Slam titles ....the other's in the picture have fell short of at least 1 grandslam title.One other is of course current.Leave me a comment on who are these players and which Grandslam they have not won.Of course 1 of these have won all four.!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I won't forget the match between Daniela Hantuchova Vs Elena Dementieva for a long time not because of the great tennis but because that's when the earthquake hit during the match!First of all I thought it was wind, then after ten seconds I knew it was a quake,now I'm Australian and I have never experienced a tremor let alone a quake , since I've been in New Zealand there has been earthquakes but never near me or have never felt the ones that have occurred.Boy did I feel this one! The whole house started shaking and swaying and I could hear a rumbling noise, I stood not quite knowing what to do as other members of the household made their way to the lounge room where I was.It shook and swayed for a minute which seemed like eternity, I thought oh yeh 15 sec and its finished..........hahah it kept going on an on.Even some 12 hours as I write this post an aftershock just occurred and trembled my house a little!I am in Timaru but have coached in Darfield where the quake was centered!Wow its not something I thought I would experience and its something I don't want to again.I actually feel like I am sea sick and any slight movement or bump startles me! Anyhow above is some pictures of Christchurch where a lot of the damage occurred.We are all ok in Timaru but definitely shaken. 
Well ok here are my selections for play today.Hope watching is less eventful!

Jelena Jankovic Vs Kaia Kanepi - Jelena Jelly bean for the win.
Beatrice Capra Vs Maria Sharapova- The courts are alive with the sound of Maria
Paul-Henri Mathieu Vs Roger Federer-Will be a good test for Rodger!
James Blake Vs Novak Djokovic - The Djoker is playing with us he will let us think he is a contender then have a dizzy spell and lose! But not this round.

Svetlana Kutnetsova Vs Maria Kirilenko - Its Russian roulette 
Robert Soderling Vs Thiemo De Bakker -Soderling has not really impressed me so far but should get the job done.
Caroline Wozniacki Vs Yung Jan Cheng - The top seed to get through.
Arnaud Clement Vs Mardy Fish - The Frenchman wont be catching any Fish here.

Alexandra Dulgheru Vs Vera Zvonareva - Vera to get there may be tight.
Gail Monfils Vs Janko Tipsaravic- I would never put money on either of these in a grandslam tournament.Monfils just.
Patty Schnyder Vs Yanina Wickmayer - So Long Patty
Jurgen Melzer Vs Juan Carlos Ferrero - I'm think Juan Carlos

Albert Montanes Vs Kei Nishikori- Could go either way. Will go with the higher seed.
Richard Gasquet Vs Kevin Anderson - The Frenchman
Shuai Peng Vs Andrea Petkovik - Peng maybe
Dominika Cibulkova Vs Lourdes Lino - Anyone's guess

Competition players still needing to pick for Round 3 use this post.

Finally Venus Williams Outfit of the round