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.