Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tennis Dissolves in New Zealand

There are many aspects as to why tennis is not firing in this country.When Top Dog and now called Configure Rankings was introduced I questioned the method and the reasoning why TNZ implemented a Squash based ranking program.I wondered why no other tennis country has come up with this ranking based program.You can search my blog to find articles I have written.

Now there was a lot of serious question re tennis asked in the UK a few years ago but changes have been made and British Juniors are taking on the World.They had a Mickey Mouse rankings system before they decided to change. The LTA (England) developed a new system to run along side their rating system they said"The rankings system we have developed is a ‘points per round’ system based on tournament performance irrespective of opponent. This is the format most commonly used by other countries and the International Tennis Federation (ITF)"

Did you get the last part of that TNZ the format most commonly used by other countries and the International Tennis Federation! Not Squash New Zealand TNZ!

In world Junior ITF rankings New Zealand has one boy in the top 250 Cameron Norrie at 93 and one girl Emily Fanning at 74.The UK has 16 boys in the top 250 and Girls 6 in the top 250.

One of the important aspects that has been proven  is that a point by round system allows players and coaches to recognise the level and strength of an event and understand the ranking impact of success within any graded tournament. This in turn provides tangible and measurable goals for the player and allows the coach and player to formulate a competitive schedule that reflects the players’ long-term Development Plan

In my opinion the current rankings system is geared for the social club player who does not care about their rankings. Results speak for itself, the UK  fine tuned a system to produce good players.

Tennis NZ has failed to again listen to  what players and coaches say about the rankings system here obvious .oblivious that it has bore the jokes of many.New Zealand Tennis list TMS and the Grading system in their fixed assets of $103,000 , I wonder how much of that is the Grading System cost?

Does the current ranking system achieve these objectives

· Is it aspirational, allowing players to see where they sit within their peer group.

·  Does It support a simple grading and points structure that remains consistent throughout all age groups. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT POINT

· Does It encourages competitors to play up an age group when they are ready, without it having a negative impact on their ranking within their own age group

We all know that your points are accumulated based on who you play whether its a local club match or a National Tournament , we need to change this and measure the players on tournament performance.Adult players have incorrectly been loaded to high and are easy prey for smart juniors wishing to improve their rankings by beating one of these players.

The USTA  High Performance Division and the Youth Competition and Training Committee have 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.Sound familiar TNZ?

I guess our High Performance team disagree's .And if you live in isolation like the Southern region of New Zealand you are at a disadvantage because you are not able week in week out to play a Head to Head competition that favours players in the big city's.Did I not comment in my earlier article that the Board of TNZ have no idea what happens outside Auckland ...well I was not that specific but this article I am.

We continue to follow the same path we achieve the same results.

Configure THAT!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pigs might fly a good description for the current state of the Game


Great Article today locally by Mark Reason. I will provide the Link to the full article.HERE . I liked this interpretation "It's not rocket science. Look at Dick Tonks and New Zealand rowing or Arthur Lydiard and athletics. It's about the coach, stupid - and, in these ever more professional times, that means money. Borfiga has revolutionized Canadian tennis. “It's important not to play a good match, but to play to win. It was my first message,” he said. His second message, according to CEO Michael Downey, was “Kids need to have the right values, to be low key and be polite.”Scouring TNZ's Strategic Plan, I could not find a single mention of the word “winning.” Canada has embraced the word. Felip Peliwo and Eugenie Bouchard won both junior Wimbledon titles. Peliwo became the first man since 1984 to make all the junior grand slam finals.

A second Canadian girl made it to the Wimbledon semis. The 21-year-old Milos Raonic is the fastest rising man in the rankings and tipped for a major title. And guess who Erakovic was thrashed by at the Olympics. Yep, another Canadian.

On reading the article the eye has added his two cents worth, we can go with the flow and have more of the same or as coaches we can speak out to try and get some changes. Over the next few posts I will try and add some thought and reasoning to the tennis scene here in NZ.


I made the call that tennis in this country was for the elite and that many ordinary New Zealander's can not afford the game. For a start Club membership is way to high take for example a Club in Christchurch.An Adult single membership starts at $300+ for a couple $550 Family is $690. A Junior 12 to 18 is $170 and if you want to play Inter club for a junior 12-18 its $232.00. We are not talking American country club.A decent racquet for a junior just starting out in junior competition $150.00 , Shoes another $150.00( and we all know how long they last certainly not a season. Sports Kit $110+. You see if you turn up at a junior tournament wearing casual out for the referee's they love telling you you are wearing inappropriate clothing! For a family with three kids start doing the sums and its not cheap!!!Ok then the club from their membership fee's have to pay affiliation fee's to the association and then to NZ tennis!So once you show some promise in tennis the next step is to get lesson and they start at $50 per hour.Again I know for a fact people that can afford have booked several hours for their kids not a year....A WEEK!

I advocate very low memberships and a user pay for competitions Inter-club etc you play Saturday morning Competition you rock up with your ball fees. Here in South Canterbury we pay affiliation fees and have to SUPPLY our own balls! So you see the culture we breed .As you improve you have to have deeper pockets.I am just touching the surface. I have seen tantrums thrown at courts by children on tournament  day and cracked their racquet with a "Hissy" fit week end they show up with a brand new tennis racquet.Kids that know how to fight with grit in tennis are simply not given a chance and they are swallowed up by other sports.Most junior tennis players when the tough are to get going........they just cry and look for Mum or Dad to come out off the sideline and play for them.And you can bet these players are being groomed for our next champion.

Here is some of the article i wrote in 2010 LINK Dollars and Sense for tennis players

Lets break it down with different types of player's starting with

1.The Novice Player Ok for a start lets get that player ready to play. Initial cost will include EQUIPMENT ,New Racquet  a good junior racquet will set you back $200 NZ ,shoes $120.00,attire another $100.00 so all up $420.00 to get you started. Ok then you have to join a club $50-$100 depending on location and you have to take some group tennis lesson at around $150.00 a term.( two terms) So $420 for equipment $100 for club membership and $300 for two terms of group coaching. Outlay for the year is $820.00.

2.THE REGIONAL PLAYER -To make a regional team for say a National teams event you will of course upgraded your tennis racquet and because you will be playing more events tournaments and local events you of course will break strings more regular.So you will need two racquets which will set you back $800.00.Don't forget the new Racquet bag $100.00 ,At least 5 restrings  a year $200.00 ,the more specialized coaching from $50-$70 an hour and usually at the very least juniors will take an hour lesson per week .Do your maths over 48 weeks of the year.Now you are going to tournaments outside your local area also accommodation transport etc. So you wont get much change out of $3500.00

THE NATIONALLY RANKED JUNIOR- These juniors are winning National titles or ranked in the top 10 of their age group in the country.Juniors are committed to tennis everyday of the week.Most juniors are having 3 Individuals with their private Coach and doing at least 3 squads a week.Also they are travelling overseas  and ITF junior tournaments.There will be not much change from $16,000.00.And that is just for 1 year taking in Travelling Coaching Accommodation and equipment and clothes.

So you are Now on the Circuit - Ok you are now stepping up to ITF Men's and Women 's Futures  tournaments.These events are world wide and it is fact you cannot stay in New Zealand to get ahead and you will need to travel so lets keep your first year basic, Airfares etc 10,000.00 Food $3,500.00 Coach at $100 @ day 100 days 10,000.00 ,Car Hire /and Local travel $3000.00. I have roughly based it on playing tournament's in the USA ,Mexico,Spain,Canada and UK. Now many cannot afford a coach so do it independently and unless your Roger Federer you will not survive. So a basic year figure is around $30,000.00. You are playing mostly qualifying and not eligible for Main Draw benefits. Once you do start making Main Draw's at the Futures and challengers it gets a little easier...but unless you win a few not much!  

Whilst we continue to have wrong personnel in important key positions and staff we dont need then tennis in this country will indeed be only for the elite!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who is taking Serena Williams Home tonight

My French correspondent Lippy Le Cont gives me the gossip on Serena Williams.Looks like her fling with rapper Common is over, guess he was too common! Lippy spotted Serena and Grigor Dimitrov ( 21 year old rising star of the men's tour) visiting the Eiffel Tower. Despite the age gap -- Dimitrov is 21and Williams 31-- Lippy said, "They were laughing and seemed to really enjoy each other's company. It looked like a first date." But there is a twist so Lippy says Serena has a new coach Patrick Mouratoglou who also coaches Grigor and now is enjoying working with Serena also!

Lippy submitted a couple of shopping photo's above and it sure aint Grigor.....looks a lot like coach patrick!

At Wimbledon, Richard Williams was asked for his thoughts on his daughter exploring other coaching advice. “I think it’s good, but I think it would be a lot better if Serena took the time to apply her life more to Jehovah,” Richard Williams said. “I don’t know what she’s doing because I’m not with her 99 percent of the time, but I think she should take more time to do that. That’s more important than any tennis ball or anything she could do in training to try new things. It was Jehovah who brought her through this here.”

You heard it Serena , you gotta give a little more time to the other man in your life, Jehovah....Daddy said so!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Davis CupBlow up In Germany Australia fail to Qualify after going into final day 2 rubbers to 1 up

My Australian correspondent and old tennis buddy "Digger" from Dunedoo tells me it was not all rosy in Australia's Davis Cup Loss to Germany again being denied at the last hurdle to return to the World group of teams that matter.The Australian Davis cup team is now being ranked along side the Wobbly's  rugby side as simply "aint good enough". In fact between Tomic and Quade Cooper its hard to say who has been in better form..Digger says he cant split them and said he agreed with cranky Johnny Mac when he used the word that sounds like tanker to describe their play( I actually think it was Digger who used the word). I guess you have to be Aussie to decipher the code.For overseas readers I will give you a clue replace the "T" WITH "w".Well Uncle Tony really gave it to Tomic at the change of ends, Its not Rafa's Uncle Tony by the way its Aussie Legend Uncle Tony a former Davis Cup Hero back in the Days when Australia was a world power before the days of Internet, Ipads and pay TV the days when Aussie Kids played sport after school and weekends and not sitting on their ......Whoops Digger I cant use that word!Uncle Tony who was sitting behind Davis Cup legend and captain Pat Rafter ( yes I was there the day he came back from two sets down at White city to defeat Cedric Pioline), My Mate Digger was at the pub., sorry back to Diggers report.Patrick who let Tomic know he wasnt happy with his performance against A Rod at the US OPEN was being to nice and thats when Uncle Tony got up from the supporter stand and gave it to Tomic like Harry Hopman used to give it to Tony in the "good old days".Even with Uncle Tony's kind words Tomic still lost and that left poor Lleyton Hewitt to try and pick up the pieces , "fair crack of the whip " says digger "Lleyton is in pieces himself mate after so many ops " .Pat Rafter considered replacing Hewitt knowing that he could only play on one leg but then thought he would still be better than the players on the bench.

Another Tennis legend Australian Paul McNamee told SEN that the disappointing Davis Cup result is a result of poor planning."In winning matches away, overseas countries are clearly going to play us on clay, which is Lleyton’s weakest surface and Bernard Tomic’s weakest surface…

"We needed to invest quite a long time ago in more clay courts and grounding juniors on how to play on clay. Surely Bernard Tomic’s movement last night showed he’s not yet a true clay court player and that probably should have been addressed a long time ago. I do blame the administration for doing not nearly enough about clay court tennis.

Good old Paul loves to stick it up Tennis Australia the best he can , but the problem is more than Clay courts Paul its attitude and Desire! You all know Australians live in the "lucky Country" We need Heart and a return to our tradition grass roots values.Well that's all I have for you at the moment readers Digger tells me hes returning to the Pub!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Congratulations India! The young guns delivered the knock out blow to New Zealand with team of Sharan and Vardhan edging out a gallant Dan King Turner and Michael Venus in 5 sets.Indian Davis Cup Captain 2nd from the left in the above picture Mr Shiv-Prakash Misery was very happy with his team as you can see.
My tweeting Correspondents Paid's and Bootapaid's have not been heard from and I believe are organizing a petition to have Bhuthpathi and Bopanna reinstated after they have been banned from representing India until 2014 for being naughty spoiled brats.Leander Paes will be considered if injury free.Please Leander tie up you shoe laces.Leander will be 40 next birthday and I am sure he has many years left in him.I was able to keep up with the scores with the help of Mrs Shari-Prihit-wickit who used her mobile and cheap phone call cards to call me in New Zealand. India in the end was too good in all departments with the turning point  the wonderful tactic change up where Mr Shiv told his player to hit the ball into the court.New Zealand had no answer and the High Performance team must regroup as they ponder their next match.Maybe they could look to bring in some young guns? Finally on a serious note I read this article with interest as it touches only the surface of what is happening with Tennis in New Zealand.John Roughan of the New Zealand Herald writes concerning the new proposal for affiliation fee's titled  Price we Pay for Public Money.READ HERE. Well Im guessing India will put in some inexperienced players for the dead rubbers but this match is over!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

India Vs NZ Davis Cup Update

Well what a dissapointment I switch to Sky Channel 69 and they are showing reruns of the Rugby test NZ vs Argentina !!! C'mon I was ready as was all the listed coaches on find a tennis coach to watch this important fixture!This match is of National importance ,what about the 80,00 junior tennis players that have participated in Grasshoppers ,who cares if most of these juniors decided to play Rugby or netball, who cares if player registration in clubs decreased  last season ,Whats wrong with SKY we are a minority sport and we deserve better!Anyhow thank god for twitter!The Bollywood team of Paid and Bootapaid kept me up to date.There was many tweets when Dan King turner took the first two sets
against Indian Yuki Bhambri.There was excitement in the tweets as the team tweeted the Indian Davis Cup selectors had no clue, and how dare they leave out their hero's and doubles specialists.Unfortunately the tweets stopped as Bhambri won the next three sets .Davis Cup Captain Marcel Marceau was all smiles as Dan King Turner took the the first two sets 6-3 6-0 , the T20 supporters were very quiet and the High Performance team from NZ ecstatic.Whoops forgive me readers the New Zealand Davis Cup captain is not Marcel Marceau! Typo!Anyhow back to the match the Indian Davis Cup Captain then made a major tactical change to Bhambri's game he told him to hit the ball into the court!Amazing this tactic worked! and he won the next three sets 6-2,6-4,6-2.The Indian crowd went wild the Bollywood dancers were back, the drums sounded out throughout the stadium.The NZ high performance team naturally had dissapointment all over their faces.They had been fooled by an ingenious tactic!I tweeted Paid's and Bootapaid that they must keep me more updated and to enjoy the moment as the young 20 year old from India deserved his selection.They tweet me back and said GET REAL! well it was not the real word they used you can imagine the REAL word they used!Anyhow New Zealand's hopes now rested with Statham the NZ number 1 .However after splitting the first two sets with his Indian opponent Vishnu , he lost the third .Marcel then appealed to the Umpires for bad light and his appeal was upheld and the match with Vishnu will be completed before the doubles today,Vishnu leading two sets to one.Providing I can contact Paid and Bootapaid I will give another update soon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Davis Cup Action : New Zealand Vs India

I am sure Sky Sports will provide live coverage of this tie on Sky Sports 69 due to the popular interest of fans that equal the amount of find a coach members.India goes into the tie with out its best known tennis players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, Paes withdrew from the tie he tripped on his shoe lace playing the Final of the US Men's Open doubles .Bhupathi was dropped over his refusal to play with Paes at the Olympics, I bet he will be tweeting well wishes to the team.Not considered either was Doubles specialist  Rohan Bopanna, he definatley wont be tweeting! especially well wishes!A bit of trivia for you Paes and Bhupathi fought over the same Bollywoood movie star both had more than a game of tennis in mind with the actress.

This looks like New Zealands best chance to defeat India, I must say however they have not beat India since 1978.They will be pumped up after New Zealand Black Caps form in India, where they lost the test series.Yuki Bhambri is India's top man in this tie and he will open against Dan-King Turner.Bhambri is ranked 179 in the world ,Turner is 382.King-Turner showed some form earlier but this has seemed to taper off ,Both Players have been on the "journeyman"tour which actually costs the players money to compete.

Number 1 New Zealander Jose Statham or whatever he wishes to be called he has a few names I'm led to believe comes up against Vishnu Vardhan ranked 262,Statham is 317 so on paper could be a good match up.No doubt the New Zealand players will have to cope with the rent a T20 crowd and those rent a pretty Bollywood Dance team that will be banging the drums and dancing every time India wins a point!

Marcel Moss, the New Zealand Davis cup captain said they knew the Indian team well, they probably have eaten at the same dinner dives whilst on the tour...Whoops correction Marcel Vos! No doubt the high perfomance team will be on hand in the New Zealand Players Box. TNZ spent over 600,000.00 dollars on High Performance last year. Sorry I cant give you a breakdown on where the money was spent but probably on Adminstration and salary's . I think they could trim this budget for sure , any one else have any ideas?

Michael Venus and Artem Sitak make up the rest of the team 592 and 705 respectively in World Rankings.Lets hope King-Turner and Statham dont get Delhi Belly as these two havnt actually been moving up the rankings.

As I write heavy rain has delayed the start of the match.It will indeed be a vey interesting tie.The Indian team is vulnerable ,home conditions of course is an advantage.I look forward to giving you an update on the tie.Any how I must go and pick up my take away Garlic Naan and Beef Vindaloo.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Murray Lays Ghost's to rest.

I liken Murray's win similar to a cone drill I do with students, maintain consistency the cones eventually fall over.Murray yesterday finally put the Ghost of Fred Perry the last British Male 76 years ago to win a singles Grandslam. Murray was playing his 5th slam final and perseverance finally paid off.He played a smarter ,tactical game in trying windy conditions a lesson for all junior players how to adapt their game.Djokovic although he battled hard could not come to terms in so much he could not play the game he wanted to.The final sometimes looked like a local club singles battle slice backhand to slice backhand,in fact at times it became a slice and dice fest and Murray had the better control.Murray maintained a good level of depth off the ground and this was a telling factor.Murray wont be getting any Calvin Klein underwear deals from his grand slam win , he wont get the best tan award either but he does get the title that he will keep for eternity.

The Murray box was delighted at times his mother reminds me of a "punch drunk" fan getting up constantly shaking her fist in support.Lendl the coach of Murray even cracked a small smile, he indeed fits the "Grim reaper" persona to a tee.Credit to a certain extent goes to Lendl but Murray's team including his Mum played a big part.How different a year makes and the mental side of tennis become evident with Djokovic not so confident as he was this time 12 months ago.Hurry back Rafa!

For your interest below a video clip of a young Andy Murray.

I came across a very funny blog which I will give you a link to .Some people usually Rafa fans think of Federer as aloof and of course the GOAT title sits well with his idenity.The blog title is Psuedo Fed Blog and reading a few posts I found it very funny indeed.In this small excerpt from the title Minutes of the players council it is Psuedo Fed recording the minutes.

"Andy Murray sat right at the front wearing his Gold Medal and he had a very big grin on his face like a Cheshire Cat. For My fans outside of the UK, Cheshire is a county in England where their cats are always very happy.

Mr. Bradlings started the meeting by standing up and announcing that the last Australian player to win the Australian Open was Mark Edmundson in 1976. I looked at him and said, “thank you”.

Tommy Haas said if anyone has an injury during the U.S. Open they are to check with him first before calling a trainer.

I looked at him and then looked at Andy Murray who rolled his eyes (both of them)." David Nalbandian asked if the lines judges would have flimsy wooden panels like at Queens in London. Nobody knew although Serena Williams said she would check for him providing he cared to shut his d**m mouth. This moment got a little heated and I nearly called My staff but Mr. Bradlings made the interceptions and told us all that in the last two decades, Marat Safin made the most Aces (31) without a Double Fault in 2004.

Andy Murray asked how I did in the Olympics with the same grin and I gestured to staff who held up a flag that read, “Shut Up”. CHECK OUT THE BLOG AT

Finally when i started this Blog I did not think I would write and post so many articles.Nor did I think how local and world wide this blog would be read.I know some readers are not fans but they keep coming back to check what is written so that is a testimony in its self to know they care what is written.........other than that why come back :) Anyhow I received a nice comment so check it out in the comments section of this post.