Sunday, 21 January 2018

'OUTSTANDING UMPIRING'

Did anyone catch the name of the umpire who ignored the fact that Nick Kyrgios hit a ball up into the stands at the start of the fourth set through frustration ?
Obviously part of the same Tennis Australia umpiring section that allowed the cheater from Belarus Victoria Azarenka to take a tim tam and coffee break for ten minutes while she composed herself at the Aussie Open in 2013.
Fair dinkum disgrace tonight, once again from officialdom or is that 'official dum' ??
And on another subject, how's that 'Dream Draw' looking now for Nick Kyrgios that the West Australian Newspaper came up with at the start of the week ??
I picked it, I wrote about it, load of hype not worth the paper it was printed on just to grab the attention of readers. No substance whatsoever.
Jo Willy softened him up over 4 sets, Dimitrov did the rest.
Dream Draw ? 
Funny stuff.......

'INDEED A SUBTLE DIG'

 COURTESY OF THE NEWDAILY 

Nadal’s subtle Federer dig

Spain’s Rafael Nadal gave a nod to Roger Federer’s star treatment at the Australian Open, cheekily hinting that the Swiss player had the upper hand because he had only been playing at night.
Federer has had three consecutive night matches during a week in which temperatures during the day regularly soared over 40 degrees.
Speaking to Fox Sports, Nadal suggested that players with more media pull got to play at night, meaning they could avoid battling the heat.
“There is television, there is tickets to sell, there is players that achieve more than others,” Nadal said.
“That’s why some players play in prime time and other ones don’t play in prime time.”
Retired star Andy Roddick defended Federer on Twitter, pointing out Grand Slams were “a business” in need of eyeballs for ads and sponsors.

Indeed Rafa Nadal is very correct in his statement, Roger does in fact get favoured. Let's face it, a 4 hour match in 40 degrees during the day is a little different than a 4 hour match at night in the cool of the evening.
Roger says he is more than happy to play during the day however television sponsors don't want that, obviously.
Tennis is indeed a 'business' first now days, as a sport it is second......

Saturday, 20 January 2018

'CONFUSING' ?

" Of course my game plan was fatally flawed from the start. Pathetic, really. 
It couldn't work, no matter how long the match, because you can't win the final of a slam by playing not to lose, or waiting for your opponent to lose".
Andre Agassi
( PAGE 152 'OPEN'. )

" What'd you do that for ? I know it's a killer shot, but every shot doesn't have to be killer. Sometimes the best shot is a holding shot, an OK shot, a shot that gives the other guy a chance to miss. Let the other guy play".
Brad Gilbert
( PAGE 189 'OPEN' )

The 1990 French Open Mens Singles Final between Andre Agassi and Andres Gomez was a disaster as far as the Las Vegan showman was concerned because Andre Agassi looked every bit the winner from the start of the event. 
His form was particularly impressive on court as he only dropped 4 sets on the way to the final and he wore a rather loud pink and black outfit complete with hot pink lycra leggings underneath acid- washed shorts.
Agassi was larger than life at the 1990 French Open, the talk of the tournament, a Rock Star of sorts who loved centre stage complete with the long flowing locks which were synonymous of that era's Glam Rock Bands.
The problem wasn't the length of his hair in that tournament, it was the hair piece that held it together as it is now no secret that Agassi wore a wig to hide his balding head and as he has suggested in his book 'Open' he was more concerned about the wig falling off than winning the French Open final.
Anyhow the hair piece is not what I wanted to really talk about, I simply get side tracked easily.
Page 152 of 'Open' states that Andre Agassi had a flawed game plan, a plan that had him waiting for his opponent to lose. Agassi believes that this was all wrong.
Fast forward to page 189 of the same book. 
Andre Agassi states that he liked Gilbert's philosophy of 'letting the other guy play' or 'giving the other guy a chance to miss'.
I find it all very confusing.
Personally I am locally known as a 'hack', a player who simply gets the ball back over the net with either slice on my backhand or topspin from my forehand. I just kick my serve in. I own a two handed backhand though it's pretty average so I only really hit it as a passing shot. In a rally I simply slice it.
No doubt about it, I am a hack tennis player, first to admit it.
In 1988 Mats Wilander made just 37 unforced errors against Ivan Lendl in the final of the US Open, a match that the Swede won in a tick under 5 hours in 5 long sets. I learned to play from watching Mats because I felt that the style he used owned merit. 
After all how many players are good enough to keep hitting winners at any level if their opponent keeps asking them the question with rally balls or 'holding shots' as Brad Gilbert calls them ?
My theory is simple, same as Wilander's was, same as Gilbert's, make the opposition beat you but don't lose, above all DON'T LOSE. Too many matches are lost, not enough are won.
So is it a contradiction from Andre Agassi in his book just 37 pages apart ?
Personally I always find tennis theories the most fascinating part of the sport because every coach owns an idea or two that will quite possibly own merit however it will only ever be used to perfection by a student if that student is technically and mentally gifted.
You can't expect an 'average' club player to implement the Brad Gilbert/Mats Wilander theory of simply waiting for the opposition to lose if that club player does not own the set of shots required to make it work. 
That's stating the obvious.
So in 1990 Andre Agassi played a 'flawed' tennis match against Gomez however was it really as flawed as he suggests ? Almost 4 years later Brad Gilbert told him to basically play the same way as he perhaps did in that French Open final yet this time Agassi embraced the idea.
Interesting.
If I am teaching a junior to play tennis I will simply teach them to keep the ball in play as that surely will be good enough in most instances to at least be competitive and most juniors say under 12 years of age will struggle with an opponent who does not miss much. 
As a player grows technically, physically and mentally he or she will grow in confidence and will naturally develop bigger shots to finish points a little earlier than that of the regular 'hack' player.
So to my point, I believe that tennis has way too many perceptions to ever really be mastered by any particular player, coach or organization and it's why regular success at any level is rare. 
So if someone reads a book by an ex pro who won every Grand Slam available and that ex pro states on one page that he can't expect to win playing a certain style yet within 40 pages states that the style they believe was initially flawed is now not flawed then how do us 'hacks' simply take it all in and say ' Yep that makes sense' ??!!
Confusing ?
That's tennis...........

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

'POOR PLAYER MANAGEMENT'

When it comes to poor player management, poor decision making and anything else that resembles those two things then I think it's safe to place Alex De Minaur into those categories.
Back in September 2017 when the last Slam of the year was completed at the US Open the focus quickly turned to the Aussie Summer of Tennis, a time when all Aussie tennis players get a chance to strut their stuff in front of their home crowd.
A time to be cherished by every Aussie tennis player.
The Wild Card Playoff in December is a tournament that awards the winner a free pass, or rather a well earned pass into the first round of the Australian Open and the winner of the Mens event was of course Alex De Minaur. 
He did it rather convincingly as he only dropped two sets in four best of five sets matches and in doing so secured himself around $60,000, guaranteed, win or lose, not a bad pay day for a teenager.
Alex was by far the stand out player in the Wild Card playoff , head and shoulders above the rest. Some will argue that his training in Spain toughened him up for the long hard slog, others will tell you he's a home grown product. Each to their own.
Now here's the thing. Alex entered the Brisbane International on New Years Eve 2017 and made it all the way through to the semis and along the way he blitzed former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in straight sets. Fair to say Alex was in form.
The young Aussie/ Spaniard quite possibly should have made it through to the final against Kyrgios as he lead by a set and 5-3 in the second set tiebreaker before finding a way to lose to American Ryan Harrison 6-4 in the third. 
All in all a great event for the young fellow and the Media in Oz went berserk.
'The new Lleyton Hewitt' some said as Alex played with a rather similar style to the arrogant Aussie himself, complete with the obligatory 'C'MON'. Wonder who taught him that......
Anyhow Brisbane was kind to Alex, kind to tennis fans in Oz as they now had a new tennis hero and kind to Lleyton Hewitt as he was gaining some long lost attention from the camera man once again. 
All in all it was a win all around for tennis Down Under, everyone was as happy as Larry, who is always happy.
Now my question is this;
Why did Alex play in Sydney the following week ???????????????????????????????????????????
Alex is young, 18, slightly built, doesn't own a big game, just a big heart and a never say die attitude. So why did he have to contest another tournament that finished just two days before the first Grand Slam of 2018 commenced particularly when his form was exceptional and perhaps a chance to go deep into the draw ?
Were they expecting him to lose early ?
Looking back, that may have been the preferred option.
Your guess is as good as mine but I will tell you also what I believe it was all about.
MISMANAGEMENT, POOR DECISION MAKING AND A LACK OF INTELLIGENCE .
Suggestion ?
Alex, enjoy your new found stardom, a few days off from your four matches in sunny Brisbane, relax, then start training for the Aussie Open. Apparently Lleyton is your new hitting partner ? Play some sets with him but above all, STAY FRESH FOR THE AUSSIE OPEN.
Here was the problem, Alex made it through to the final in Sydney and lost an epic to Medvedev 7-5 in the third. It looked gruelling.
Alex De Minaur was over played in the lead up to the Aussie Open 2018, no risk whatsoever and his effort against Berdych proved it, he was rooted after two sets. Thomas won 12 of the last 13 games as Alex served at just 150 km. Why do you think he was doing that ?????
A bit tired perhaps ??????
Anyone who knows anything about tennis will tell you that the body must mature before taking on the sort of workload that Alex consumed in the two weeks prior to the first Slam of the year. 
What he was expected to do was perhaps only something that Rafa could achieve at the same age but at 18 Rafa had won a Slam, Alex is a long way off that standard, technically and more so physically.
Lleyton Hewitt is the Australian Davis Cup Captain though not the coach of Alex De Minaur, a guy with a fancy Spanish name owns that title, so between both camps surely some intelligent decisions should have been made regarding young Alex's welfare.
Doesn't seem the case though does it ?
Ash Barty quit tennis for 18 months around the same age as Alex De Minaur is now, all due to poor management of her requirements as a young tennis professional, thank goodness she came back.
Message to 'Aussie' Alex;
'Please Alex don't go and play cricket like Ash did for a year and a half. I will manage you for a quart of what these 'Zen Masters' are currently doing. 
Blind Freddy can see that no one is really interested in how you are going, it's more about the money you are earning others and the egos you are fuelling with your talent as many are quick to 'claim' your success as their hard work.
Fair dinkum disgrace and a comedy routine all rolled into one big f... up'.
Regards Glenn


Saturday, 13 January 2018

'ARGUMENTATIVE'

It stems from tennis I believe, being argumentative.
Nature of the sport, possibly one of the most 'argumentative' sports on this planet due to the nature of it. Tennis sculptured my silly brain though many will say I don't own one. Fair enough.
Several days ago I read a headline on the back page of the West Australian Newspaper that stated the following; 'KYRGIOS' DREAM DRAW'. It was in reference to apparently receiving a draw that was kind to him however on reading the article it didn't match up with the headline.
For a start Kyrgios should win his first match in Melbourne this year against Dutra Silva, a player ranked 100. A good player is Rogerio as you have to be to make around $1.5 mil in your career and I believe he is good enough to win a set against Nick but shouldn't really bother the Aussie too much given his current form.
Round two will be literally 'tricky' as he plays the winner of Viktor Troicki and Alex Bolt with the former always a tough man to beat.
Now Round 3 is a test and this is where the news article does not stack up to the headline as Kyrgios takes on the winner of the match between Tsonga and the hottest tennis teenager in the World, Denis Shapovalov. 
How's that headline looking now ?
Round 4 will possibly be against World number 3 Grigor Dimitrov.
Apparently, according to the West Australian Newspaper it's A DREAM DRAW.
So this is what I did, I found the Journalist who wrote the article and sounded him out, I left him a detailed message as to why I believed the article did not add up to the headline. 
Now I have sent Journo's many emails in the past as I don't agree with a lot of what is written about tennis as I believe it's all about grabbing a headline a lot of the time. 
I was not expecting a reply.
Couldn't believe it, I got one.
A detailed one.
Nice bloke.
Now here we go folks, I found out something that I actually was not aware of and please excuse me for being a dummy. The Journalist writing the article is NOT ALWAYS responsible for the headline as apparently that's up to the HEADLINE GRABBER BLOKE who comes up with great ideas whether they match the article or not.
Fascinating isn't it ?
Anyhow I have a new favourite Journalist now days, a guy who I questioned regarding an article however at least he was big enough to get back to me and explain himself, ripper bloke. He even told me that he loved my passion for the sport ! 
There you go folks, pays to be honest at times.
So in conclusion, don't always blame the Journalist for the headline because it may just be that the journo sent in a story and relied on the 'headline grabber' to grab a headline.
Like the saying goes;
'Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.'
Something like that........

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

'A NEVER ENDING EGO'

"Whatever I tell him to do he does, I enjoy going out there training with him". ( Lleyton Hewitt )
That comment was printed in today's West Australian Newspaper as the hysteria around young Aussie/Spaniard Alex De Minaur grows to fever pitch.
At last, Australian tennis fans have someone to cheer on who is not a big mouth, who gives his all and who speaks well. All in all Alex De Minaur is a nice young man, however let's reiterate something that I wrote just a short time ago.
Alex De Minaur is coached by a Spanish tennis coach and trains on clay in Spain.
OK now that we have established that fact once again let's look to that statement by Lleyton Hewitt who can't quite believe his luck at present because let's face it, Lleyton is once again firmly in the spotlight. Why ?
Well it's simple really, Alex De Minaur has Lleyton sitting in the stands at most of his matches and whenever Alex does something special the camera drifts towards Lleyton and then the commentators go weak at the knees as they speak of 'similarities' and 'mentoring'.
It's one of those sporting stories that has Journalists salivating about because they are probably tired of the last few years where Tomic and Kyrgios have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This story is a bit more positive though I can't help think that Lleyton Hewitt is trying to claim some of the accolades for Alex and that to me is uncool.
It's one thing to hit with a player, it's another to have brought them up from knee high to a grasshopper into a technically and mentally gifted player. Tennis however is full of stories like that as some coaches go to extraordinary lengths to 'claim' players as basically their own product.
" Whatever I tell him to do he does ".
A never ending ego will come out with that type of statement every day of the week as it puts the focus right on you as THE ONE who is teaching the student how to play the game. Bad choice of words ? 
Well personally I would have said something like this, 'Whatever I SUGGEST to young Alex he appears to be able to implement into our strategy sessions'.
But that's just me.
Tennis coaching at any level is full of people who go 'pupil hunting' and any tennis coach who has ever run a program will talk about past players who have been poached by coaches who liked what they saw so in a nutshell this is what happened;
The 'poach coach' spoke to the student, they spoke to the student's parents and they offered something else, something that quite possibly sounded fantastic in regards to some sort of enticement. Maybe discounted racket restringing, clothes, shoes and lessons, the whole package so to speak. 
Many in fact take up the new offer, good luck to 'em, each to their own way of trying to make their way up the ladder of tennis success. 
I would like to see one thing from someone like Hewitt who has been lucky enough to be handed a player for training purposes, set an example.
'Alex is certainly heading in the right direction with his tennis and his coach Adolfo Gutierrez has done wonders with him in Spain, we are simply reaping the rewards of that hard work'. ( That would be my personal line )
Once, JUST ONCE I would like to read about credit where credit is due and Lleyton Hewitt needs to extract his head out of his own bum for 2 minutes and accept the fact that his current hitting sessions with Alex have been made possible by COACH ADOLFO GUTIERREZ. 
I suppose though if he did that it would direct the spotlight away from him and as we all know in tennis, the spotlight is everything.
Perhaps Tennis Australia could also acknowledge the fact that Alex De Minaur is not a product of their system nor a product of Lleyton Hewitt's 'expertise' but correct me if I am wrong, that would also take the spotlight away from their apparent 'success' with the new 'Aussie' Tennis Hero.
Tennis is a unique sport because it takes egotistical behaviour to dizzy heights but the problem I believe may just lay with hierarchy first and foremost. Magnus Norman got it right with his take on tennis after Wawrinka won the French a couple of years back as he knew he wasn't the one who taught Stan how to play, he was just lucky to work with him at the time.
At least he was big enough to admit it.
Takes a big person to admit that they aren't responsible for a student's success in sport, but people who own a never ending ego will continue to claim accolades that are not deserved. 
Nature of the sport of tennis.........

Saturday, 6 January 2018

'C'MON'


Today's match between Ryan Harrison and 'Spanish/ Aussie' Alex De Minaur in Brisbane was a ripper though two moments defined that match as far as I was concerned, others may disagree.
There was a rather loud 'C'MON' from Alex in the second set which was not appreciated by Harrison so he returned the favour on the very next ball with a backhand winner and an even louder 'C'MON'. 
I thought that was priceless.
If someone is getting in your face on a tennis court then return the favour. 
Nothing worse than getting pushed around. It's like being at a pub on a weekend and some knob gets into your face, 'You wanna go mate" ??!
Bang, you started it.
Tennis is very much like that though it's not as prevalent as it used to be when guys like Nastase, Connors and McEnroe would do it on a regular basis. Gone are the days, a shame, it was rather entertaining.
Tennis is always an argument, it's just a case of whether it gets personal or not.
So back to the C'MON'S. Personally I am not a fan of it, makes a player look like a knob, self absorption at it's best with no thought of the repercussions. Let's face it, tennis is the type of sport where guys and girls regularly play the same tournaments together so a certain amount of etiquette must be adhered to.
It's simple really, if a regular work place was full of employees running around doing 'C'MON'S and getting in each other's faces all because of a great moment or two of productivity it would be the stuff that fisticuffs are made of. 
In tennis, well it's accepted, particularly by the public though many past pros will tell you that the 'C'MON' was simply not cool. Ask David Nalbandian who had some rather serious things to say about Australia's very own C'MON' King, Lleyton Hewitt.
" Nobody is a friend of him". ( David Nalbandian )
So back to the Harrison/ De Minaur match. It changed dramatically after the C'MON exchange as I honestly believe the young Aussie/Spaniard knew he had upset his more experienced rival, a guy who is the reigning French Open Mens Doubles Champion ( with Venus ).
There were no more C'MON'S until 2-5 in the third set when Alex broke back. So what happened ?
Ryan Harrison is a rather fiery customer and let fly at the umpire to explain why he had words with De Minaur at one stage. 
He even called it 'uncool' as he referred to the young fella moving while he was about to serve.
I have no doubt that young Alex heard the conversation between Ryan and the ump'. 
I found the whole thing rather entertaining.
I love watching young tennis players trying to emulate Hewitt, it's hilarious. It will only put them offside with an opponent, nothing more, nothing less. The whole C'MON thing is a contrived act of self importance that does nothing to endear a player to anyone and it can really piss an opponent off, just ask Nalbandian who has spoken of Hewitt doing it from the age of 13/14. 
Professional tennis players need to understand that they can in fact gain respect, even in a foreign Country if they act like fair dinkum citizens and not pork chops. You never know when you may just need some support.
So to the C'MON.
If you just say C'MON then that's all it is, a loud way of pumping yourself up, though if you put the Swedish hand signal into the equation, ( the 'Vicht' ) then it gives it a whole new meaning.
As previously stated, it is the Swedish hand signal meaning 'For Sure', nothing more, nothing less. A self absorbed Aussie claimed it as his very own, Swedish Tennis aren't too happy with the outcome. Such is life.
C'MON is here to stay, apparently, it's now an Aussie 'trademark' sign.
I just wish the great Jimmy Connors was still playing the game. He would not have accepted the 'C'MON. 
"I enjoy playing guys who could be my children. Maybe he's one of them. I spent a lot of time in Vegas". Jimmy Connors after losing to Andre Agassi in the 1988 US Open quarter finals. 
The reason for that statement ?
Andre predicting he would win easily before the match started. 
Can't imagine how Jimmy would have reacted to 'C'MON'.......