Sunday, May 5, 2013

Another Defection Hits New Zealand Tennis Hard

New Zealand's leading junior tennis player, ranked No 10 in the world, has defected to Great Britain due to lack of funding.Auckland's Cameron Norrie is considered our best tennis prospect in years, but the 17-year-old played his first tournament as a Brit in Scotland last week.Norrie qualifies for Britain through a parent being born in the UK, and follows Sacha Jones, who defected to Australia last year.Tennis NZ says the switch of allegiances again highlights the lack of development funding for top players, with CEO Steve Johns saying he will again raise the issue with Sport New Zealand. Norrie went to the UK six weeks ago to trial with Britain's Lawn Tennis Association.

This is a slap in the face for tennis in this country on top of Sasha Jones and the Rubin Statham Debacle with their top ranked player making himself unavailable for Davis Cup over issues with TNZ. Norrie has had some support from TNZ to deny that is wrong, but the grass is greener on the other side of the world and British Tennis is cash ladened. In saying that they have not had much success outside Henman and now Andy Murray in mens Tennis.In fact Tim Henman just recently labeled British Men's tennis as embarrassing .Goodluck Cameron I hope you have researched all the components of tennis in GB after all we all know Murray went off shore to Spain at a very early age.

So the signal is loud and clear junior tennis players from New Zealand ,check your heritage there is hope , or like Jones did migrate to Australia , although she hasnt actually set the world on fire since her move. Their coaches (Great Britain)deemed (Norrie) good enough to be part of their development programme and he has automatically become the UK's top-ranked junior. That sort of sounds funny ,Norrie learning all his tennis locally now is the top ranked junior player for Great Britain!Dont worry juniors Mr Steve Johns  is on to !be it a defeatist statement that will not inspire local juniors "Johns said New Zealand couldn't compete with Britain's funding."As it was when Sacha left us, these guys are out there wanting to make a career in tennis, and there is no way we're ever going to be able to match the resources of a Grand Slam nation," he said." Well Mr Johns if you want some homework why not look up the budget of other Tennis Nations who have top 20 ranked players.They dont spend half on what Great Britain has spent over the last 20 years and some dont have a budget equal to New Zealand!.So you really need to know that money helps but its not always the key ingrediant at the end of the day.

I know from watching Norrie over the past few years ,in fact I coached a junior that beat him in the National 12s final in Christchurch that he has the grit and will to win. His results since supports that.Norrie has been New Zealand's highest ranked junior since Marina Erakovic reached No 5 in 2005. The next best male Kiwi junior is Kyle Butters, ranked 209.  It really boils down to toughness and what you are prepared to do to go to the next level.Norrie has obviously made his choice ,what he has to do for the next level.Here in New Zealand he should of been picked for the next Davis Cup tie , sadly that wont be happening.I dont see him playing for GB either in the next couple of years.No doubt Norrie will focus on the remaining Junior Grandslams pointless really in the scheme of things. His success in the futures recently is promising be it they were in Great Britain ...oh dear a thought just ran through my mind the first tournament in GB Norrie reached the Quarter finals after coming through qualifying the tournament winner was 16 year old Borna Coric ( Croatia) who is the 4th best Junior in the world.Norrie....has had a win against him in the Junior ITFs in Manila recently. Coric beat the Brits in their backyard my thoughts are Timmy Henman Hill maybe right!This week Norrie was beaten in the qualifying by guess who Coric three. Ok to cut a long story short the guys playing these events are from high 300s to 1000s plus.! As I write a Belgium ranked 478 takes on a Brit ranked  619 ( 24 years old) in the final of this weeks Great Britain challenger.Coric was beaten in the quarters by Aussie Jason Kubler 61 62 ranked 398 and 19 years of age.

Great Britain has not had a great track record especially in the Admin department , I guess probably a little more success than TNZ.Johns said High Performance Sport NZ's funding policy was limited to athletes capable of podium finishes at Olympics or world championships.
"We're clearly not there yet," he said. "But who's to say Cameron wouldn't have been a future Olympics medallist for New Zealand."
A spokesperson for HPSNZ said: "Athletes and coaches do move around the world. We benefit when overseas athletes choose to live in New Zealand."Cameron has identified an opportunity for him and we wish him well in chasing his dream. THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT HPSNZ .Unfortunately as many will talk about  the short comings of tennis in this country but few lack the WILSON balls to publically come out and criticize..I mean just attend a tournament here there is nothing positive said about TNZ. Norrie maybe had to do what he had to do......Time will tell if its the right has to change in the country  .One of the brain waves from TNZ was to move offices and rub shoulders with the elite of sport...Money could of been better spent on the Juniors maybe.Norries move did not happen overnight! did we have our Head in the sand once more? Must be a running joke out at the Millenium centers water coolers....if your looking to make it in tennis check your ancestory!

Would love to hear some comments on your thoughts of Norries defection and what it means for aspiring juniors here in NZ


  1. NZ Tennis........ R.I.P.! Craig, Auckland.

  2. Is this really a good move for Norrie? The LTA doesn't exactly have a great record of producing talented male players who make the top 100 - Murray via Spain, Rusedski via Canada and Henman via upper class England.
    Norrie leaving can't be blamed on TNZ. The potential access of wildcard for the huge numbers of Futures, Challengers, several ATP events and the big one, Wimbledon isn't to be sneezed at. Also the potential of having a coach with him and the access to European tournaments is pretty big.
    Although none of this is definite that he will become a world class pro
    But the old romantic in me would love to see people want to play for the flag and the country and as a pro player, no matter their opinions of governing bodies etc

    1. Current Tennis players in this country have no loyalty its the nature of the climate we have produced.You are naive to thinks some of the blame Norrie has left should not fall to TNZ. Its not just all about wild cards etc at the end of the day you have to perform.Time will tell.

    2. Please give researched and factual reasons why some of the reason for Norrie leaving is TNZ's fault. Curious, or perhaps I'm just naïve, which would be strange considering I probably have more knowledge of the sport than most who read this blog.

    3. Well Mr Anonymous thanks for your opinion..obviously you set the bar high with your knowledge but you choose to with hold your name although I do know you are in Auckland so I would gladly list some of the reasons why Norrie may have left ...maybe you could reply Mr Anon with the 10 most productive initiatives by TNZ over the the past 8 years ...whoops lets be fair 10 is harsh how about 5 and your name so we can nominate you for CEO and head the sport with all that knowledge could do with some one like you.lead TNZ towards the future..but me thinks you may be still in the past flag and country and all that.

    4. You don't seem to understand it's the bitterness and resentment which never helps and always throwing blame without any exact reasoning. Saying TNZ 'stinks' (please be aware I am using this to explain the lack of reason, not an exact phrase used) is not a reasonable way of expressing opinions. Saying people should be fired for the sake of it doesn't help anyone either. You have to have someone better to take their place. And no, just because someone is an ex player it doesn't make them someone qualified or able to run a sport.
      It seems there's a lack of understanding of how a sport is able to be run in this country. There are many aspects which should be taken in to account. And no I don't work for TNZ.

    5. No one here has professed an ex player to run the sport, but you have repeated this fear a few times in your comments.You have a chance to put up 5 successful initiatives from TNZ over the last ten years.I am sure you listened to the Radio discussion yesterday where it was said TNZ has learned nothing over a 15 year period and the standard of tennis in this country is at an all time low.Obviously you have an idea how sport should be run's your chance lets hear it.Did you know that many of the regions are at logger heads with TNZ and very much doing their own thing.Did you know the Southern region is in debt and over 250,000.00 of wasted money injected in the region by TNZ restructure . This is just the tip of the iceberg.What you are saying everything is rosy in tennis here in this country especially at HQ again list your TNZ initiatives and success story's ... here is your chance....

  3. Good reply to Mr A! He probably works for TNZ or is a coach that "toes" the party line so to speak.OR he is an ex TNZ and probably to blame for the state of the game.
    I certainly would like to debate HIM OR HER on the state game just to let some air out of their swollen head of knowledge.

  4. Where are all the Coaches in NZ willing to stand up and say what the problem really is? Poor management by NZ Tennis, and Johns and his crew must be aware they haven't a clue and should really throw in the towel. Get the 'Tea Lady' to run the show, Craig Auckland.