It is with no surprise that the Sunday Star Times reported that the Seed Foundation, an organisation set up to fund New Zealand's most promising tennis players, has stopped handing out money, because it can't find anyone good enough!!The article went on to say"The sad fact is that no player has any chance of making it from New Zealand unless they have wealthy parents or get money from Seed. Yes this is the climate for tennis players in this country,since the glory days of "Parun,Lewis Fairlie etc the local culture has disintegrated in many areas.Basically the Administrators of the game in this country are making more than the players !Wasted funding in many regions have gone unaccountable and if you want proof then look at the Southern Region of New Zealand a debacle and $200,000.00 spent and for what? a region that is still in debt.Wasted money on cars,High performance coach,CEO I could go on ,and this does not stop just in Southern.Tennis is for the wealthy and its no wonder we are not attracting enough of the athletic players with "grit" instead we attract a lot of "sooks" crying juniors spoilt by Mummy and Daddy (new racquets , new shoes) and when the going gets tough they cant get going!Mentally we are light years behind our counterparts on the other side of the world.We cannot HOPE to get it right if our structure is wrong and it starts with Admin and funding,Players and juniors could of been better off with that
$200,000 spent in Southern! The picture on the left really defines Tennis attitude in New Zealand and I cannot believe this "head in the sand" thinking.I mean there are some horrific story's out there with bad administration and persecution of top coaches.If you are prepared to go with the flow you are safe ..buck the system here and its to the "gallows"with you! Lets be honest there has been some bad appointments to key positions and the best person for the job has quite often been overlooked! Yes I believe we have talented juniors not many that can make it population and participation does not allow i but we have a few but unless a better plan, more dedication and discipline can be installed , better access to funds for both players and THEIR coaches.Notice I highlighted their, here in Zealand The National Body are trying to take juniors from their private coaches and lets put it out there to appointed coaches that can "spin the yarn" and dont really have opinions except to check their Bank Balance.I mean do a little research and all players in the top 100 have their own coach and to create a scenario where NZ appoints a Davis Cup Coach to help a player for "x" amount of months is just stupid, sit down and talk to the player and their coach and see if you can "nut out a funding arrangement based on performance!I mean Rubin Statham just made the semi's of a Challenger in Australia ..and no help from Vos but by his own means and his own team.A Davis Cup coach needs to work with player and coach providing feedback to TNZ on results not pretending you are their coach.. C'mon guys get that head out of the sand and get with it! Tennis is an individual sport you need to put money into things that are working!
The College system is a great backup for our juniors and it probably is the best option for current juniors but its no surprise that New Zealand current Number 1 in Men and Women did not do the college scene.At the end of the day you get a degree, you get three meals a day, training, a few parties ...its a great life ...but is it the toughness that will get you to the top your sport I say no!
What needs to go is Top Dog and the way rankings and more importantly the culture it has brought to Junior tennis I mean how absurd that A local club game can mean more than winning a National Final.I have written on the blog before with this basic principle being the root of all evil , it needs to go! and bring back rewards as your progress through a tournament rather than head to head.It really is a Joke when you look more carefully and you hear the story"s around the country as they try to beat the system with Parents "stalking " out older players that have been given an outrageous top dog code..or by electing not to play an opponent as they may lose points.Lets reward the tournament player and bring back some real meaning to these events.Read Articles here Link 1 and LINK 2
You need to understand that by accumulating ITF junior points does not necessary mean success Juniors , coaches and parents are pretending to be on the actual pro tour and the amount of ItF tournaments played is ridiculous , sure if you want to go to college the rankings help, but smart college coaches will look at results at the end of the day.A perfect example is Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis 16 year old who reached the final of the recent Australian Open Juniors un seeded and ranked over 700 ITF. It would be great if Junior players Kyle Butters and Cameron Norrie looked at his schedule and training regime.If Juniors here keep following the same path then I see it impossible to make it on the Pro Tour.Credit To Statham and Co who have gone for it with limited resources and advice from the National Body.Juniors you need to be making the quarters of ITF Grandslam's and Grade A and 1 and 2 events consistently to have any hope.
Too much comparison is made with the local scene and at the end of the day if this is your gauge on success then you are deluded.
Take the current Fed Cup , most of the team except for Marina are college standard players and certainly not the top college players ,without Marina the prospects of promotion to a higher division looks dim.
For New Zealanders I dont think College is the way to go for Pro Tour aspirants ...for the realists it is.
Basically I have gone off on a lot of topics , I think my opinions are relevant and sorry if i have confused those reading.I could go on but for today I have written enough!