Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Its Time To Smell the Roses- Tennis In Australia

Australia has had its worst Wimbledon since 1938 but the spin by Tennis Australia is that Australia is in good shape tennis wise, A closer look at Players and tennis in Australia suggests otherwise.Drive around towns and cities go past tennis courts and clubs and they are empty.Large Associations that had plenty of courts are now selling up part of their complexes as a lot of the courts are not being utillized.Tennis this side of the world is not coping and losing out big time to Team Sports.Even in New Zealand where I am based call in the the Association courts and its like a "ghost town".

Paul McNamee, a four-time Grand Slam doubles champion, including twice at Wimbledon, says Tennis Australia has failed to develop a next generation of players to replace those who have retired or are aging.

McNamee says Tennis Australia has placed too many young prospects into its own system rather than allowing them to work on their game with their own coaches.

“We had a lot of very good juniors over a long period of time now, but we haven’t been able to ‘transition’ the juniors into successful senior players, and I believe it’s because we haven’t had the right philosophy to coaching,” McNamee said. “Tennis Australia takes kids away from their own coaches and effectively imposes coaches and there’s a little bit of a merry-go-round.”

This is a big problem National Associations shun coaches that are producing players and getting results and back coaches who do not work with these players. "I am still waiting to be contacted by the TNZ national body for putting South Canterbury on the National tennis scene with results and players that have come from this region in the past 8 years. Would you not think coaches that get results need to be recognized and assisted by the National body.

Bernard Tomic is Australia's top ranking male player at 28 in the World. His game on analysis is not a top 10 player, he is constantly having off court issues and if he is the future of Men's tennis for Australia I hope he can get his act together.Marinko Matosevic is 26 of age has had some good results this year and is 72 in the world.At 26 hes nearly reached his peak, hes no Pat Rafter.Mathew Ebden is ranked 76 he is 24 and no real weapons I cant see him going deep into a major tournament.

James Duckworth is Australias next highest ranked player at 20 years of age and 195 in the world.Nothing spectacular here just a solid good tennis player ,of  which there are many between 150-200 in the world.Then theres Lleyton at 202 great Australian player but literally on his last legs! Theres no Hewitt in this next generation so McNamee is some great points.

Sam Stosur is the exception at the moment , she is no 5 in the World, but watching her sometimes its hard to believe she has that ranking.She is 28 and I have to say her best days may be behind her.Jamila Gajdosova married an Australian and since have split she is 76 and really did not come up in the Australian Junior System so you cant call her a product of the program.She is 26 and another who wont be in the second week of a major.Same could be said of Casey Dellacqua at 27 and 108 in the world.

Olivia Rogowaska showed some promise early with a few good wins however has not done much lately she is ranked 124.Rounding out the top 5 Aussies another player we cant call home grown Anastasia Rodionova ranked 133 again another player not going into the second week of a major and probably not to the second round.She is 30 and best days behind her.

Ashleigh Barty is a shining light at end of a gloomy tunnel she is only 16 but has already had outstanding results both juniors and recently against the big girls as she enters the Pro Tour.

4 Australian Junior Boys made the Main draw of Junior Wimbledon Luke Saville is the top seed , 3 have won through their first round.Only 1 Australian junior girl was in the maindraw after she came through qualifyling but was beaten first round. This is not such a great outlook for girls tennis which had poor representation at the French Open Junior just past.Of course transgression from juniors to Pro's does not happen to everyone.Ben Mitchell who reached a junior Wimbledon Boys singles final recently has not exactly set the world on fire with results so far on the Pro tour.

As I have noted in past articles Administrators make more than most players trying to make it. However, Tennis Australia tournament director Craig Tiley said the events at Wimbledon did not reflect the Australian game’s true state.

“It’s an overreaction to a moment in time, Tiley said. “Not a good moment, and one we’re not feeling good about, but it’s not a reflection of the hard work that’s being done.

I think its time to Wake up and smell the roses Craig ,we have had a few lucky results that have glossed over what is truly "cupboards are bare"reality.

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