Monday, January 31, 2011

Djokovic wins as Murray can't relinquish Ghosts of the past

Did Murray look up at the big screen during his final last night and see the ghostly image of Fred Perry the last Male Brit to win a Grand Slam title sitting next to him holding the trophy?I think not but many of Murray's ghosts are in his head.Unless Murray can control his on court ranting,raving and winging then he wont ever take the next step.As a coach what would you be telling a Junior you work with if they acted like Murray on the court.Until Murray and whoever his next coach is addresses this problem then I am afraid he is not mature enough to ever win a Slam!Below the many emotions of Murray.
Congratulation's Novak you were the better player in all area's yesterday, you showed the maturity and skills that have been lacking in big matches.Above are the Stats from the match.As I said yesterday Serve was going to be a telling factor ,Murray won only 31% of second serves compared to 60% of Djokovic, simply not good enough for Murray or really anyone at this level!.Murray really has to improve his serving percentage and as you can see on Speed ,Djokovic had the faster average on Second Serve, Murray speed wise had the edge on Novak in the first serve department but only served at 53% of first serve's in for the match ,compared to Djokovic at 67%.Points won was of course a resounding 106 to 78 Djokovic.

I have been reading this morning on experts saying Murray must step up the attack, well and good to say that but you have to understand major changes in Murray's technique cannot be made now!If you notice Murray comes around the ball more on the forehand side than Say Djokovic , which we all know will be great for cross court, he struggles to flatten it out for the down the line winner and his preference is to hit back across court.So most of the tour players know this and are ready for this play!Djokovic's forehand technique allows him to go either way and step around and hit that off forehand into the backhand side ..something that Murray does not do often.The other point I wish to make is that Murray's game is slices and change of pace which generally works against most players except the very best like Djoker, Federer and Nadal so for him to step up he would have to give away in certain matches his slice backhand and try to be more aggressive off the two handed backhand side.That can be done, simply the slice is not a winning shot and players can gain control of the rally if not perfect as it lacks power!For someone from the UK with Wimbledon a goal Murray does not come forward enough to net nor has the natural instinct to finish some points at the net.His volley and especially his overhead is just not good enough.I think this is mindset from his day's as a junior in Spain he learnt court craft and how to work the ball around but the coaches failed to see he did not have the hitting power of some of the other guys and did not work on the net game and how and when to approach! Yesterday when at times he needed to put more pressure on Novak he did not get the power and Djokovic lobbed the ball perfectly to set Murray back on the baseline again.

Mentally yesterday Djokovic had the edge big time , as I said before the constant winging and berating his box , plus the anxiety about his string tension could not possibly help his focus! He said he would be prepared better this time and would give a 110% but honestly this did not happen , it looked like he had not played a Grand Slam final before, he has indeed played 3 now and is yet to win a set in any of these!

Physically Djoker was great he looked fresh his footwork was outstanding whilst Murray did look he had the weight of a nation along with the ghost of Fred Perry on his back.Even his box after the first set and half was resolved to losing, at one stage Mother Judy has to urge some of the box to stand to clap and support a rare winner.
What was Judy thinking yesterday while watching Andy. I know that in Juniors many parents would not stand for the "rot" Andy goes on with on court and I have seen them walk on to the court when their child behaves likes this take their racquet's and called game over. I guess Andy is a little to old for this ...or is he?

And so the 2011 Men's Champion is crowned , Novak did indeed Dance his way to the star's yesterday!
I end with some relevant Djokovic quotes from his press conference after the match.

Q. How did you fix your serve?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, hitting thousands and thousands of balls on the practice. It’s all about hard work and patience, I guess, dedication to the hard work which in the end pays off. That’s the situation. There is no secrets.
Of course, I was aware of what I do wrong. But once it gets into your head, it’s really hard to get it out of your habit. Everybody was, you know, criticizing me, Why did I change my serve? I didn’t change it intentionally. It just came like that.
I worked hard the last 10 months, and now it’s back.
Q. Can you talk about some of those secrets that you discovered about yourself that helped you get back on track?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: As I said, you know, something switched in my head. It’s been a big mental struggle, because I was trying to separate my, of course, professional life from my more private life.
But, you know, if somebody’s emotional we’re all humans. It’s not possible. If something isn’t working off court, then it’s going to reflect on the court. I managed to solve that problems.
This is all part of life. Of course, everybody’s facing difficult situations in their lives. To overcome the crisis and to stand up and try to still dedicate yourself to the sport was a big success for me as a person.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it’s not working, you know. I’ve tried. But with all due respect to Todd Martin, which I think he was a great player, he’s a great coach, but it just didn’t work. You know, it’s really hard to compensate and have two coaches traveling with you. I tried.
Of course, I tried a lot of things. And if you don’t try, you don’t know. Now I know that it’s not working.
Of course, Marian Vajda will always be a part of my team. He’s just more than a coach. My physio, Miljan Amanovic, my fitness coach, all of these guys, put incredible effort into my development, into my improvement on the court, off the court. I owe them a lot definitely. It’s them who deserve a lot of credit, as well.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Men's Final Novak Djokovic Vs Andy Murray

What an interesting Match up each with their own personal incentives to win the title. Murray at this stage has the title of best player on tour not to have a slam title....that could change after today and Djokovic the one slam wonder can get rid of this perception today also.Head to Head it is 4:3 to Novak but they have not played each other for over a year!Djokovic experimented with service style change which lead to him serving more double faults than aces but has since gone back to a more fluent style.Murray statistically has a lower percentage of first serves in play.Both move well so equal there , Djoker has more sting on the ground strokes especially the forehand side but Murray defends better and mixes the pace more than Novak does.Mentally Murray has the edge, if its hot as predicted for today's match who knows how the Djoker will react we all know he does not handle heat that well , it could be a deciding factor as you can rest assure Andy will make Djoker play lots of balls and move him around as much as possible.I think it will come down to the serve , If Murray serves well he will win if not Djoker will be able to dominate.

I have to say I have once again been disappointed with Murray's On Court demeanor , I have to say the umpires have been too lenient with Murray.Last match it was obvious that at one stage Murray told the audience "to shut the xxxx up".What role model are you Andy? What signals do you send to juniors watching , the constant whining and winging and berating your box needs to stop. The umpire for tonight needs to have a little more control and shut Andy up or get down off the chair and wash his mouth out with soap and water. Obviously something his mother should of done long ago.And yes Judy you need a little serve also as a respected coach why encourage it with leaps off your feet urging your son to come on! Ok understandable for a Mother but one can see where Andy gets this obnoxious behavior from.As a coach and a mother lead from example.

A word of advice ....Sit down there are people behind you. And oh speaking of people behind you on the right hand picture is that not Caroline Wozniacki in the Murray Box! No girlfriend "down under" one could read a little bit more into this but the "eye" is not up for gossip :)

I respect and acknowledge the hard work and family sacrifices that has placed Murray in this position but really Andy its time to clean up your act.The Djokervic's are also at times on the edge.Watching Mr Djoker( father) in the box while his son is playing you get the impression that Novak is expected to win every point, after all these matches you would think that by now one would know this is not possible.

So all in all a great match up lets hope this is a drop in the ocean because Nadal and Federer will be back and this is definitely not a changing of the guard.

The womens final was a fitting end to two crowd favorites the better player won on the night and Kim Clijster's now joins history with her name etched on the Trophy. Congratulations! 



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Women's Final Australia Open Kim Clijster's vs Na li

Ok this is rare two married women playing each other for the title! Who will win, Ok for me Kimmy has the more variety in saying that she is often prone to make a lot of errors if her game is not quite on song! Na Li is a little more predictable , I guess that old saying Fortune follows the brave and if Kim is on it will be a straight sets win for her. Na Li will exploit the unforced errors and she is also capable of shot making. Kim has Grand Slam final experience that will be valuable and could make all the difference.Na Li wants to go shopping so the incentives are there.I am going to say Clijster's but those that have followed my tips this open probably should place all their money on Na Li.

Well the Djoker and Murray Match should be very interesting my Blog tomorrow  will have more to say on this.

So I am guessing Oracene the Mum of Venus and Serena is not a huge Clijster's fan when she tweeted that she hoped Na Li kicked butt today.I would be more concerned on the next horrific out fit Venus lets loose on tennis fans!

Luke Saville from Australia has reached the boys singles final unseeded, but if anyone follows my spin on ITF 's then I am skeptical of seeds anyhow as many good players don't bother too much with these events. Well its a small light at the end of a long dark tunnel for Australia, if you have the chance he gives an interview in my last post just click on the link.

Go Aussie Kim !!! 

Just watched  a live stream of the Junior Boys singles where Jiri Vesely(CZE) defeated Luke Saville (Aus) 6-0 6-3. A little disappointed with Saville just looked like another pedestrian tennis player with no major weapon. Vesely a left hander with a strong lefty serve had way too much power and shot selection, he even looked hungrier . I'm not sure what the focus in Australia is but looks like we are producing nice players but not potential top 50 players.
The light at the tunnel dims!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Aussie tennis players are soft | Hack | triple j

Aussie tennis players are soft | Hack | triple j

Have a listen to this interview. Newcombe asks a few hard questions.The Tennis Australia Guy (Morris) dances around most of the issues.
More support to the coaches that are getting these guys to the level is needed.Have a look at the tour each player has their own travelling coach, Tennis Australia puts them into a sheep paddock with a sheep herder they don't know.We are too soft have a look at the tournament schedule on some of our top juniors....they needed to be harder, obviously they are set by someone.Included is a Interview with Luke Saville who is still at writing in the Junior Boys singles.Let me say don't get excited about ITF Junior results, there are a lot of good juniors around the world not playing these events and getting good results in futures.Tennis Australia treat our juniors like babies giving them a easy pathway to some ranking success with tournaments.Work harder , get a tougher tournament program for juniors, cut out the talk and funding on Has beens like Alicia Molik and Dokic , Get real when talking about our womens rankings , Only Stosur has been a true home grown talent. The discipline is not there , the talk of Duckworth and Mitchell progressing as they get older is absurd , we don't want another Pete Luczak we want a higher ranked player. Bernard Tomic is a hope but he has made success outside the norm of what Australian Tennis calls their development program. I can see the difference.... its Tomic's mental and discipline prowess that is ahead  in comparing with his peers, even Stosur lacks this and has stopped short at major matches because of this.Stop thinking by putting down clay courts is the answer,its trying to change a culture of "having it too good this side of the world" is a key , do all what you want until this attitude changes we will produce mediocre tennis players.Newcombe talks about the Hopman days and my thoughts its the discipline era that made our tennis players.We need to get it back!

Late news!
Whilst on the topic former Australian Open Director had this to say re coaching and playing development.

McNamee said the link between player development and additional funding was tenuous.
The lack of top players was in part due to administrators micro-managing the talent by assigning coaches to players rather than letting them choose their own development paths, he added.
"There's no evidence that more dollars are going to help the game anyway, otherwise Great Britain would have many more players than they have," he said.
"You've got a situation here where coaches are assigned to players and that's not an ideal scenario.
"I just believe in a different philosophy where the player gets to choose their own coach and that builds the trust and respect and that should be supported financially and in non-financial ways.
"I think a much more decentralized system and a system that has more freedom in it is the sort of environment where talent and creativity can flourish. I think the model we have now suppresses creativity, which you need to produce players." 
Tennis New Zealand could take notice in this area!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Andy Murray Can Win Australian Title

I have to say that Murray has never been a favorite of mine but I do know that he has done the hard yards and I think its time for him to step up and grab a major title.I wish he would change a little of his on court demeanor he would of course improve his image to the public!I came across an article more about his mother I will provide the link but I found this very interesting and shows what dedication the family has had in Andy's tennis career.In this article Judy his mother has this to say.
“I think Andy benefited enormously from having a big brother who was very gifted as a youngster,” said Judy, who separated from and later was divorced from her husband, Willie, while the boys were young. “The first overseas tournament Andy went to, he was 9 and Jamie went as well. It was an under-11 tournament in Rouen, France, and Andy got to the semifinal and lost in three long sets to GaĆ«l Monfils, and Jamie got to the final and beat Monfils, 1 and love. And the whole way back home, Andy was saying, ‘You only won because I tired him out for you!’ It was just hilarious.” 

Read the whole article here I found it interesting and gives a good background of Judy the mother! HERE Above is a little video I put together using one of the most heartfelt national songs in the world.Scotland the brave.

You Can't Win Them All !

Junior tennis players take heed , you can't win them all.As I have said in earlier posts a tennis player will have great moments and along with these their will be moments of hard times....this is the nature of Sport.The great Spanish Champion can testify as he crashed out in straight sets to fellow country man David Ferrer yesterday.Its fact that Nadal injured himself very early in the first set, he showed integrity by finishing the match,some of his fellow pro's would have thrown in the towel before completion.

A disappointed Nadal answered these question in his Presser.

Q. What you achieved in the last year was nothing short of amazing. Does this break your heart a little bit that it had to happen like this?
RAFAEL NADAL: The tennis career, you have higher moments and lower moments. I had almost all the time very, very happy moments and very nice moments in my career. That’s part of the sport. Last year I was very lucky. I was healthy most of the year. I was playing unbelievable during all the year.
This year I did I think all the right things to start the season playing really well. And, seriously, I was playing like this in the first exhibition in Abu Dhabi. After that starts the problem. Was a difficult month for me, no?
That’s part of the sport. Accept; keep working; try my best in the next tournament. That’s what I can do.
And Nadal is correct there is nothing one can do, its past and the quicker you move on the better for it you will be.He may never be in this position again ( he had the chance to hold all four majors at one given time) but knowing Nadal he will hurt a little but gain a lot and set more goals for himself in the future.
Q. Can you tell us your feelings tonight compared to this time last year?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is different because last year was the knees. I had a problem, big problem, in the knee in the past. So was hard for me to have another time the same. I didn't see a solution in that. Is not the case.
I came last year after probably six, seven months really hard for me of injuries and of problems in general. So was a hard situation. This year everything is a little bit different. I have three more Grand Slams at home, a few more Masters 1000s and a few more tournaments.
I can say nothing wrong because I had a fantastic time last year. Not possible be all the time at hundred percent. Not possible all the time to have all the positive factors together to win in every tournament.
Last year happened in almost every one. This year we start with a little bit of unlucky. I gonna work hard to come back and to keep having chances and to compete against the best players and to keep being in the top positions of the ranking, so...

I love playing tennis. I love the competition. And I love, in general, the hard moments because you are ready to change the situation working hard, working every day with a goal and with illusion.

Nadal even though his English is not perfect can hold his head high answering in a way that juniors should read and put their own game into perspective!Take note of the last two lines above .He is a humble champion and whilst this tournament he wont hold the trophy over his head you can rest assure it won't be long before he is back on the winners list. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Rafa's Autograph

Young Oliver Prisk of Timaru managed to get the prized Autograph of Nadal at the Australian Open.Short video of the moment.Enjoy!

Australian Open Day 9

Nadal showed his best form yet yesterday to defeat Marin Cilic in straight sets.It looks like it could be a Murray vs Nadal Semi Final and Nadal needs to be fully fit to defeat the Scotsman who has the game to exploit any one that does not bring their A game. I think Na Li is a real threat to the women's title and my tip is a Clijster's Na Li Final.With Federer winning easily today he awaits the Djokervic vs Berdych match, this will be a beauty tonight.The Djoker leads 4-1 head to head but I have watched Berdych and feel that he is playing well and will just edge out Djoker.When we were in Melbourne we stayed at Ormond college ,it sort of reminded me of Harry Potter so I have included below a few pics for your interest.Great Location for travel to Melbourne Park.
I have not put up a photoshop picture lately but I came across this one I thought worthy of a post.Federer Nadal and Djokovic.
Let the battle continue!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 7 and 8 at the Australian Open Tennis with the "eye"

The above is just a short clip of Nadal Serving I managed to take and put up on you tube, watch closely as he serves and the amount of sweat falls from his body.Nadal along with Roddick perspire a lot ,they must maintain there fluid intake.Below is a montage of pictures from last week.
Was reading a report fro the New Zealand Herald titled "Where the bloody hell are you mate" Touching on the low participation fro the Aussies compared to days gone by.Its with interest when Pat Rafter told his thoughts on what to do to get ore talent in the Main Draws ""If I had to structure a kids tennis programme now I would go back to good old-fashioned hard training and tough love," Rafter told the Herald on Sunday. "I honestly believe the kids are softer and it has to do partially with our quality of life in Australia and New Zealand."I think rafter is on it and yes this side of the world we are softer and that has a lot to do with this day and age where the children dictate to parents way too much .I mean just log onto face book and you can see what rubbish most teenagers are doing in the spare time and that includes partying and alcohol at a way too early age.Lack of Parental control is a problem and most turn a blind eye because they don t want to front their children its easier just to roll along.This is the age where the child is the dictator,and I am sure Rafter is right and to get to the top good old fashioned hard training and tough love is needed.So many Parents are off Dancing with the stars instead of realizing that to make it requires commitment and sacrifice from their social life as well. All Top tennis players have had a tough parent to drive them to success.Read the article HERE

Talking of dancing with the Stars Novak Djokovic did a publicity shoot with a TV dancing with the stars celebrity.I have my doubts if this years Men's Australian Open winner would undertake such as task during the tournament.I may be wrong here are some of the pics below.
Andy Murray had an early wake up call from Rafael Nadal in his early junior days making his decision to go to Spain and Train.To find out what it was that made a life changing decision READ ARTICLE HERE

Finally the women's draw came alive with a classic , Kuznetsova and Schiavone upped the level of tennis.The Italian mosquito would not go away and won a hard earned victory.Stan The Man Wawrinka bludgeoned Andy Roddick out in straight sets and I will be interested if he can do this to countryman Rodger Federer in the next round.Maria Sharapova exited yesterday to the Dancing German and that will save a lot of time.... watching Sharapova start and produce here service action is like dying a slow death each time she steps up to the baseline.Today Cilic will test Nadal this will be harder than the Tomic match Rafa so bring your A game. Can Missile Milos from Canada shell shock the more experienced Ferrer back to Spain with his serve.Day 8 looks to have another great tennis experience for Fans.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 5 and 6 Aussie Open With The Eye

Sadly the eye Has departed Melbourne and Now back in the "land of the long white cloud" A week at the open is fantastic , battling watching matches in the heat 5 days straight is plenty to get the feel of the Grand slam and to watch most of the World's top tennis players.We started the day with an on court session at Ormond College our home whilst in Melbourne. Above right is our group Geraldine Prisk,Rhidian Scott ,Duncan Rollinson,Angus Rollinson,Josh Reddecliffe and Hugh Rollinson.Training started at 6 am Daily with myself and assistant coach Bernard Matze(Argentina) and went though to 7-30am each day.Then breakfast and off to Tennis at around 9am for a full day.All the juniors scouted autographs during the day and many prized signatures were captured.For me personally it was great to see the players up close.Roger Federer is the mystery man and does not practice on site where as most of the men Nadal and Murray are there daily getting down amongst the public and signing autographs at the end of their session,I wandered the outer courts and it was there I first saw the Canadian Milos Raonic who I have mentioned in a previous blog.He won yesterday against the 10th seed Mikhail Youzhny further cementing his potential and now will play David Ferrer and if he keeps serving like he has for the tournament will again cause another upset.Pictured below are a few snapshots of Milos I managed to capture.
Let me say something on the Sam Stosur match last night , a truly great player must play to their potential every round to win a grand slam alas Stosur always has that side which she cannot produce her top form each round and thus although she said in a post match interview last night she played well , I always have doubts for her to get through to the final because of the inconsistency in her game.The commentators give her too much hype , constantly raving that her serve is one of the best in the womens game.Come on guys!!!!! she gets broken far to much for that accolade.

Rafael Nadal stopped the last Australian Bernard Tomic in the Main draw singles, Tomic does show promise and is easily head and shoulders ahead of an ordinary pack of Australian up and coming juniors and players.If you look on my Ayers Rock picture I still thing those pictured on the Rock will come through to the last four. I feel like if have gone two five setters and look forward to a little slower day today!.

Here is a little piece I found on Raonic
 A native of Montenegro (his uncle is the vice-president) who has lived most of his life in Canada, Raonic spent his youth poring over tapes of Sampras matches and building a game that was similarly based around a monster serve—“I’ve got a good shoulder on me,” Raonic says. You could see that his serve, which Raonic believes is already among the game’s best (he’s really not that cocky), allowed him to take a Sampras-like approach to his match with No. 10 seed Mikhail Youzhny.

“I feel like I serve like probably one of the top guys on the tour," he said. "It allows me to play more freely also on the return games, because I know most of the time I will be holding. So it allows me to take less pressure on myself, whereas I feel it also puts more pressure on the other guy.” (Confident, yes, Raonic does seem to be that—call it the civilized version of cocky.)

Even when Raonic was broken in the second and third sets, which he was more regularly than he might have expected, he played borderline-risky, opportunistic tennis on Youzhny’s serve. Raonic prefers to rip rather than rally on his forehand, and he loves to go for an outright crosscourt winner on his return from that side. He also put two backhands smack on the sideline to break Youzhny early in the third set.

But as big as he tries to hit, Raonic says he has a plan. When one reporter implied that he was enjoying the youthful freedom to crack the ball with total abandon, Raonic quietly protested. “I was trying to do what I thought was the percentage play," he said, "or if I felt I had an opportunity to try something riskier. But I wouldn’t say I was really just letting the ball fly off my racquet, not knowing where it’s going.” Indeed, Raonic doesn’t just bash to bash or rally to rally. He hits with purpose and aggression, and has to accept the errors that come with that aggression.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 4 Aussie Open

Another late post but with so much happening at the tennis I guess I am lucky to post at all.Will give you a player alert, I think Canada has a good young male player on the rise ...his name Milos Raonic, this 20 year old came through qualifying and then yesterday beat Michael Llodra of France in straight sets. He has a huge serve yesterday he clocked one at 230ks and keeps his first serve up around 212 on average, he can volley also could be a huge danger at Wimbledon.Watch out for him if you get a chance to see him.Well finished the day with the Murray Match and who should be calling the baseline of that match Tony Glentworth he was overuled once and made a mess of another not a good night for the New Zealander. Off to see Roddick today and no doubt a lot more .Above are some the action and people I met up with on Day 4.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finding Rafa -Day 3 with the eye at Australian Open

Just a real quick post, finally Day three "the eye" found Rafa! I would have to say this guy will go down as one the greatest and most popular players ever to play the game. He does not try to hide from the fans and he is practicing on the outside courts daily "the heart and soul " of the event.Watching him after practice he makes sure he signs a good lot of Autographs for his young fans and old ones as well :) Oliver Prisk travelling in our group scored the prize Autograph of Nadal.Vicki Rollinson even had the sweat of Nadal on her arm as he brushed by her.Vicki hasn't washed that arm since. All in all we had another fantastic Day at the tennis , starting off watching Thomas Berdych then watching a thrilling Match between Verdasco and Tipsarevic ..Janko had the match won...however the nature of tennis its not over till its over and Fernando will thank his lucky stars he lives to fight another day.This first week is a must for me its the busiest and the best week of all.We also saw Djokovic and Bernie also watched Monfils.Today we are setting our sights on Tsonga and Murray as well as David Nalbandian.Its been a great week for our juniors that have come along and each morning from 6am-7-30 we run training sessions focusing on the skills that they see daily from the World's Best.Well as I said I am late with my post the Tennis does catch up  on you and hopefully I will get some more pictures and news up later tonight on Day 4.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 2 Aussie Open

Going to make Day two report short.I guess the highlight for me on Day 2 was the return of Juan Martin Del Potro to the grand-slams after injury he defeated Dudi Sela in three sets , I felt he was still playing a little reserved especially on serve but great to see him back.Not only with matches going on all day the superstars also are on show on the practice courts.I managed a short glimpse of Nadal, saw Andy Murray ,Thomas Berdych and Tsonga tuning their shots ahead of matches that day.I thought the crowds were much bigger on Day 2 than Day 1.Watched Marin Cilic also and was impressed with his win over American Donald Young.Today I am in Hisense arena looking forward to seeing Fernando Verdasco and Novak Djokervic on what should be a very entertaining day.Just a short note on Lleyton Hewitt who went down to David Nalbandian, I am tipping this year to be his last on tour , he really should of beat Nalbandian last night because Nalbandian is not at his fittest , Hewitt showed all of his fight but he has lost a lot of speed from his surgery's and that for him is essential to compete against the top players there will be no return to the top 10 for him so Australian Sports reporters get used to it and stop writing up articles with high hopes of this,Hewitt's best days unfortunately for Australian Tennis are well behind him.I had a chance also to watch the oldest player in the event Male or Female Kimoko Date-Krumm get herself into a winning position with a 4-1 lead in the third set against 12th seed Radwanska of Poland only to go down 7-5 in the third.At 40 to compete against these younger women is incredible she brings an older game to the court but shows if executed well it stands up against the modern game.
I find myself writing this blog post at around 3-30am I woke and looked at my computer time of 5-30 which is what time I wake and start the day, had my shower tapped the door of Bernie the coach who is assisting me for a wake up call.... only to find that I was on New Zealand time! here in Aussie it was only 3-30am not 5.30am ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 1 Australian Open with the eye.

The atmosphere was electric as we entered Melbourne Park for Day 1 of the Australian Open a quick orientation walk and a look at the many stalls from sponsors and equipment suppliers , I made my way to Rod Laver where Maria Sharapova opened proceedings for 2011 against the veteran Thai player Tamarine Too much to write.

It really was a forgone conclusion this match however Sharapova will have to lift her game , too many double faults and I think an average performance against a player that needs to retire!I did not watch the full match and realized all the action and more competitive matches were on out side courts. I head over to watch Sam Queerey and Lucasz Kubot.Kubot getting the upset win and sending Queerey packing in 5.

The beauty about the outside courts some great seats are available and today I found my self court-side on many of the matches.Leaving the Queerey match I wanted to see a little of the Fabio Fognini and Kei Nishikori match with Brad Gilbert now in the young Japanese players corner.It was a grinding baseline battle with Nishikori winning in 4 sets. I'm not sure what was wrong with the Italian and there were calls from the crowd to fire up ...alas he went out with a whimper rather than a bang.

Bernie a young coach from Argentina travelling with us wanted to see one of his countryman play so it was off to watch Juan Monaco against the German  Simon Greul.This proved an entertaining match with many long and exhausting rally s.Monaco gets up in three.Me thinks the top players like Fed And Nadal can recover quicker than say players with a ranking such as the Argentine after the hard "gut" wrenching rally's maybe this is the difference.Their focus is tuned in earlier than these guys who are showing fatigue after some of the tough points.
I quickly headed back to Rod Laver arena where I had a date with the great one Roger Federer.His opponent poor Lucas Lacko faced the full array of shots from the mighty Fed. Federer looked like he was toying with Lacko using the drop shot to perfection as only MR Perfection can.A very easy match the Fed Express winning in three sets.

Today i had my pedometer attached and I found I had done 12km today walking from match to match.I have written about Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov here on my blog before as a player to watch out for.So I headed to his court to take in the action!He is nineteen and has some Federer like strokes about him.He came through qualies and had an impressive win in straight sets today against Andrev Golubev .Dimitrov has a great serve and is a young player to watch out for.An Interesting fact he is coached by former Aussie top ten player Paul McNamara.

So I am just about to hit the post button to bring to the end a very exhausting day and no doubt a lot of spelling mistakes tomorrow I am on Out side courts all day and will be checking out these players, Robin Soderling,Jo Wilfred Tsonga, Marin Cilic,Juan Martin Del Potro,John Isner and many more in what should be an equally enjoyable Day 2. Rafa plays tomorrow on Rod Laver...Well check back on my day tomorrow!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding Rafa- The eye at the Aussie Open

Touch down! Checked in at a wonderful venue Ormond College which will be our home for the week. No sooner had we dropped our bags in our room it was off catching a Melbourne tram to Garden Square( Melbourne Park) where we enjoyed entertainment by one of Australia's best Anthony Callea  ...what a voice then watched the big screen of inside Rod Laver where the world's best entertained 15,000 people!!!All for the Queensland flood disaster .Dam I missed booking the tickets and thats why we were in garden square , still the atmosphere was awesome. I have to say Djokovic and Roddick are very funny guys whilst the top women embarrassed themselves trying trick shots through their legs....they where terrible especially Anna and Caroline.A huge roar went up when Rafa and Fed came onto center court as well as Sam Stosur and Aussie Kim ....well she would off been if Hewitt did not fall for a Soapy Star!My quest this week is to get some good pics and footage of Nadal on his way to History.....well Rafa History because a true Grand Slam can only be won in a calender year! Isn't that right Rod.In my quest today I did run into two blow hards Pat Cash and Brad Gilbert!My collage today is Me with the Great one.....Laver that is , Top left is New Coach for us in South Canterbury Bernard Matze from Argentina and Geraldine Prisk , Rhidian Scott and Melbourne Landmarks!We start early in the morning giving our young juniors travelling with us a tennis session and hopefully the backdrop of the Australian Open will aspire them to work that extra bit harder for improvement. Tomorrow we have Rod Laver seats and the line up is fantastic , Maria Sharapova ,Caroline Wozniacki and the great one himself Fed!.I will also be dropping in on the Fognini vs Nishikori ....this should be good ...will be interesting to see how Super Coach Gilbert's influence as been on the young Japanese player.Also on my diary list is to check the form of Thomas Berdych,Sam Queerey, Fernando Verdasco and a young player who I have mentioned on my Blog before Grigor Dimitrov...who won through qualifying if he can keep it together mentally he could cause some upsets!Of course I will be searching for Rafa also so a busy day planned....check back with lots of action from Melbourne...Its time for bed!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aussie Open here I come - the eye hits Melbourne for First Week

Tomorrow I leave for Melbourne where I will be attending the first five days of the Australian Open Tennis.I am leading a local group of juniors Geraldine Prisk,Rhidian Scott,Angus Rollinson, Hugh Rollinson ,Duncan Rollinson and Josh Reddecliffe who will see the worlds top players live.I like the first week as all the leading players assemble which we know will start a week of drama with its highs and lows for all competitors.My picks in the Men's is Rafael Nadal and I am going to make a bold predication with Venus Williams for the women's title.

I will try and post a daily write up with pics and special insights so watch out for these.So today will be spent packing and last minute preparations one does before a trip.

Lots of things happening around the world , locally there was a little uproar over the appointment of Marcel Vos as national full time coach.Top New Zealand men players stated they had their own coach and found they had issues with Vos. I have to agree with the players what on earth is Tennis New Zealand thinking apart from Davis Cup with this full time appointment.Another waste of money no doubt, fair enough for Davis Cup Time but really a waste when players have their own coaches.Allocated funding should incorporate some funding for players personal coaches. I mean this is what happens even in the juniors suddenly a coach has his players winning national titles and then TNZ want to take these juniors and appoint another coach to guide them...sum it up and its destined for failure...Now i have coached a few National Champions and not once have I had a phone call from TNZ saying well done or what are you doing .do you need any assistance.No wonder we cant produce players because there's too many appointee's at National level that don't have a track record of producing players .TNZ continually overlook the experienced guys out their getting results.You can read the coaching uproar here LINK

I have been watching the Aussie open qualifying event on the net and getting sick of the "dribble" that the commentators constantly spew from their mouths talking up the Australian Players. One comment was this" I really think the Aussie men are on the verge of something big with all our talented Juniors"Out of the 12 that contested the qualifying 10 were decimated in the first round with only Millman and Jones progressing of which Jones is the last Aussie Standing and will go out today I am certain.Not a Rosy picture in our own backyard!.Rain has hampered this event and hopefully more matches will be completed today..7 Aussie women started in their draw of which at the time of writing two are still alive, Letcher and Holland.

Believe me it will get worse in the Maindraw , especially for the men.The Ladies do have a few hopes with Stosur and Groth.Nalbandian and Hewitt will be a great first round match up.

Meanwhile the National events are being played locally with the 12s and 16s being staged at the moment.No real surprises except that the 12s National Teams event matches are being played to 4 , come on Tennis New Zealand Parents and players spend a lot of money to participate in events such as this and you guy's want first to 4 matches .The eye has been talking to a few people and they are less than happy with the running of the 12s event in Hamilton.You may as well get value for money and come on my trip next year to the Aussie Open than fork out to play first to 4 matches. Ace Ventura has sent me some pics from Hamilton of South Canterbury Player Anna Cochrane in action.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Another Day at The Office- with Southern 14s Girls team at Nationals

After a Day 1 thrashing by Northern ,Southern Girls bounced back with a win against arch rivals Canterbury yesterday.Annabel Ellis and Laura Overton lead the way with singles wins and pairing together to clinch the tie.Southern also lead Waikato 3-1 at the end of yesterdays play, however a serious foot injury to Laura Overton occurred at the start of her match and she looks unlikely to take the court for the remainder of the event.Ellis had a very good win against Gabby Coates of Christchurch 6-1 7-6 in a great display of tennis from both girls.

A hardened veteran of these events I am now a little more laid back but at times their are some tense rivalry's between regions and players going on throughout the day.For me these are great events and the players benefit by having coaches speak to them at change of ends.

Meanwhile back in the South Island Leela Beattie put a shiver amongst the mens singles competitors in the North Otago Open being played in Oamaru.She eventually went down to Finbar Argus from Christchurch. The question often arises how would the top Female players in the world go against their male counterparts...the answer there will be no contest the men ranked in the 700s will beat the Top Ladies of the world.

Well I prepare for another day and wonder what events will unfold today as play continues in Auckland.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day Dream Believer - Tennis This side of the World

As I get ready to leave for Auckland to Coach the Southern 14s Girls team at the National event , I have to wonder if New Zealand can produce a world class player that is top 100 with the tennis climate it has.Most of the home grown talent or should I say players that have been born here or have parents from NZ that have have moderate success have all left to further their tennis.Like the ostrich above parents and administrators have their head buried in the sand unable to comprehend what it takes to succeed .

Let me get back on our ranking system Top Dog it has proved that it may be a great social ranking system.But Does is deliver the real deal! NO
Recent research has shown has concluded that a version of a points-based ranking system best addresses the specific objectives identified above and the overall goal of helping players reach their potential. By using tiered levels of importance we can weigh our events, assign regulations that help our juniors to compete often, and put the emphasis on advancing through the draw. The simple concept of having a player capable of categorizing an event, determining its level, and understanding the ranking impact of success in that event allows the player to understand what needs to be done. This is an invaluable asset in developing tangible and measurable goals that also help the player’s preparation and motivation.Top Dog misses this concept.

Its about time Tennis New Zealand on the High performance side of things get real.Five New Zealand women ...3 touted as our top Juniors( played qualifying) in the country as well as Sasha Jones and Marina Erakovic (Main Draw did not win a match). One of the juniors given a wild card could not even front up for residential's a closed tournament for New Zealander's with the winner given a Wild Card.What tennis New Zealand did was dish out two more one being to a player that did not front for the tournament.Come on Tennis New Zealand you want a top tennis player stop handing out Christmas presents.

Across the "Ditch" its no better with recent headlines touting a Hewitt comeback.You read it here first Hewitt will be out before the 4th round of the Aussie open.Sadly the best days of Lleyton Hewitt are behind him and i mean about 7 years behind him.Aussie's Jelena Dokic and Alicia Molik are has been's stop wasting resources on them , the game has past them by.Bernard Tomic the 18 year old touted as the next big thing in Aussie is finding transition to seniors to hard with no real weapon that stands out.In fact while on the Men's side look out for the poorest Australian Open showing ever by The Aussie guys.

Tennis New Zealand I hope you noticed the recent Challenger Tournaments where the Top Ranking men lost out to the Aussie Youngsters.Don't throw money to dead wood.I hope what I am writing does prove me wrong especially Aussie Tennis as i still would cheer them on.Alas we have become soft we are not as tough as the Europeans and the Russians, we all live a good life here and at times too good to make the sacrifices needed to be top in the world.

And finally Facebook gets a mention , yes this is pointed to all you juniors out their that are constantly posting to this social network , get off and spend some more time on the court or setting achievable goals instead of worrying if your friends are tagging you in pictures.

The eye will have plenty to report from the Aussie Open as he is attending the first week.Check out these.