Tuesday, 24 April 2018

' MENS DOUBLES, THE CHOOK RAFFLE OF THE TENNIS WORLD'

As always I feel compelled to follow up on past posts on this site. I was certain that the first round of Mens Doubles in Barcelona would produce some rather silly results.
That crystal ball of mine worked a treat......
Henri Kontinen and John Peers currently cannot take a trick, their first round loss to Bopanna and Roger- Vasselin is their second defeat in as many weeks without troubling the score board. There is no doubt whatsoever that the ATP have created something on the Tour that can only be described as 'challenging' for players trying to make a living playing doubles.
For a Mens Doubles team to be seeded two for the past two events and not win a match proves that the format is open to an upset or three well before the pointy end of any event. For a team to simply make it through to the last 8 is an effort, unlike in Mens Singles where the usual suspects keep turning up from the quarters onwards.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares quite possibly could not have believed their luck when they received the news that the Bryan Brothers who just won Monte Carlo would not in fact be making the trip to Barcelona as their first round opponents.
A late withdrawal from the most successful partnership in Mens Doubles history offered Murray and Soares a much easier path into the next round.
Apparently.
Two guys by the name of Nicolas Jarry and Guido Pella with a combined doubles ranking of just under 700 ( Pella 542, Jarry 145 ) had other ideas.
These two took out Murray and Soares in two tight sets 7-5, 7-5 which proves the theory of mine that Mens Dubs is nothing but a raffle.
The thing is this.
Singles players enter doubles simply for some extra practice, they are not relying on it to pay the electricity bill back home on the Riviera. So they swing, they swing hard and they swing with no thought of the repercussions of their actions. If they miss then they pick up a 'modest' amount of Euros then concentrate on their singles matches, if they win at doubles, well it's simply a bonus.
Pella is ranked 60 in singles, Jarry is 64.
They have each each won over $200,000 already in singles this year. It's only April. In doubles they have won a combined total of just over $34,000.
You tell me what these two rely on for a living.
In saying that however they are now assured of a handy bonus of $10,000 Euros each for taking out their much more fancied opponents who have won 47 doubles titles between them and over 8 million bucks in the process.
Mens Doubles, the 'chook raffle' of the Tennis World.
Will the ATP tinker around with the singles format and allow a doubles specialist to become competitive in singles ??
Oh the possibilities.........


Monday, 23 April 2018

'TOUGH GIG THIS DOUBLES THING'

To reiterate what I have been writing over the last few days, Mens Doubles on the ATP Tour is nothing short of fascinating due mainly to the fact that no team can dominate, not even the Bryan Brothers, despite some recent success.
In fact I would not be at all surprised if they did not make it past the quarter finals of the Barcelona Open this week.
They may even struggle to win a match.
There are only 16 teams in the Mens Doubles draw this week, but boy there is some serious talent on show and in the first round the Monte Carlo Open Mens Doubles Champions, the Bryan Brothers have a serious test.
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares to be precise.
These two won the US and Australian Open Mens Doubles titles in 2016 and were ranked the Worlds best two doubles players that year.
Outrageous that these two teams meet first up.
We all know how good Kontinen and Peers are, the 2017 Australian Open Mens Doubles Champions as well as the end of season Tour Finals Championship winners. Well as good as they are the draw in Barcelona has not been kind to them either.
They take on Bopanna and Roger Vasselin who just made the semis in Monte Carlo.
Bopanna last year with Cuevas won Monte Carlo.
The winner of this match takes on Cabal and Farah, Australian Open semi finalists this year.
How tough is Mens Doubles on the ATP TOUR ?
It's ridiculous.
As previously described in my last post, this is a format with short deuce and a third set super tiebreaker to finish.
Singles players own the 'luxury' of being able to relax a little more with long deuces and long final sets which obviously favour the fitness robots.
Spare a thought for the guys trying to make a living playing two on two, not for the faint- hearted.......

Saturday, 21 April 2018

'BRYAN BROTHERS STILL WINNING 'CHOOK RAFFLES'

Mens Doubles on the ATP Tour is nothing short of sensational, a chook raffle of sorts where any team can win on any given day, a joy to watch, a joy to read the results where not one team dominates.
Let's face it, you can't dominate a 'chook raffle'.
How many numbers in it ?
How many variables in the current Mens Doubles format ? 
Anything can happen.
Tennis is a grind in singles, the fittest player usually wins, particularly on clay, if your name is Rafa and you can loop the ball back into play all day long with funny scoring plays;
Deuce, advantage, deuce, advantage, etc, etc.
Spare a moment for the Doubles geniuses of the World who do not own that option.
Deuce, swing hard, no time for thinking, next point wins the game.
A super tiebreaker will finish the match.
You may be a doubles specialist but it will account for nothing in a 60- 90 minute match of shot making, particularly against free swinging opposition who enter doubles for extra pocket money and training.

The Monte Carlo Open currently being played has dished up some ridiculous results. Some teams it seems are simply gearing themselves to play a third set super tie breaker to finish the match where nerves of steal are the only ones you require to seal a victory.
How good are the Bryan Brothers ?
Well experience is EVERYTHING in tennis. Just ask Jimmy Connors who famously once said " Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience, you're too damned old to do anything about it".
Don't be so hard on yourself Jimbo, you made the semis of the US Open at age 39.
The Bryan Brothers are now through to the Monte Carlo Open Mens Doubles final where a trip to the French Riviera in April with their wives and anyone else who is lucky enough to have anything to do with them is a time of the year to be cherished.
However it's the way in which they have got to the final that has tennis traditionalists scratching their heads. Is Mens Doubles now just an ounce of luck, or what Jimbo said, experience ?
Maybe a bit of both.
Dodig and Ram, two accomplished doubles specialists lost to two singles specialists in Goffin and Dimitrov, 5-7, 7-6, 10.8 That's ridiculous but it's how the Mens Doubles on the ATP Tour now work.
If a Mens Doubles match goes over 90 minutes the organizers think their throats have been cut as the singles is apparently the way to go as far as entertainment value is concerned.
Personally I am not a fan of 'the grind'. 
I love a close finish, all within 90 minutes.
Don't tell John Isner and Nicolas Mahut that .
The number 1 and 2 seeded Mens Doubles teams in Monte Carlo were beaten in a third set super tiebreaker by two unseeded teams, 18-16 and 10-7 respectively in the third.
In fact they didn't even win a match as the top seeded teams received a bye into the Round of 16.
Hows that chook raffle looking now ? 
Better odds ?
Hows this, in the Round of 16 Arneodo and Nys held a match point in the third set super tiebreaker against the team who have won over 100 titles together. Now if you look at it realistically, that is outrageous as Romain Arneodo this time last year had won just $54 .
That's a fact, 54 bucks. 
But that's how doubles now works, anything can happen, yet the ATP aren't interested in that sort of finish in a Mens Singles event, they opt for the long drawn out option where a spectator can be seen nodding off at times until they get woken by the person next to them, 'Hey buddy, it's almost finished, we are at 5 -5 in the final set'.
Yaaawwwwnnnn.
Monte Carlo 2018.
Round of 16. Mens Doubles
11-9 third set super tiebreaker, Bryan Brothers.
Quarter Finals Mens Doubles
10-5 third set super tiebreaker, Bryan Brothers
Semi Finals Mens Doubles
10-7 third set super tiebreaker, Bryan Brothers
FINAL
BRYAN BROTHERS 7-6, 6-2
All comes down to the heart, in tennis, that's what matters and in Mens Doubles, well these guys own a bigger heart than many singles players........

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

'MONTE CARLO' ( 28 YEARS ON )

I was 21 years of age when I walked through the gates of the Monte Carlo Country Club in 1991, the one place I wanted to visit more than any other, ever since I was a kid who was inspired by a long haired Swedish tennis champion by the name of Bjorn Borg.
It was rather ironic that the year I travelled to Europe was the same year Borg decided to dust off the old wooden rackets and have another crack at the game that he dominated, particularly on the clay courts from 1974 through to '81.
Myself, Brett Patten and Peter Gerrans , my touring buddies from WA watched Borg's comeback match in Monte Carlo from a Bordeaux Tennis facility in Southern France with the anticipation of a fairytale comeback result, however it was not meant to be.
At age 35 Borg still looked as fit as he did when he retired from the sport at age 26, in fact he looked just the same, including the long flowing locks which at one stage had him listed amongst the most marketable sporting personalities in the World.
Borg reminded me of Agassi, both larger than life figures with their Rock Star hair styles however Borg's game owned far more substance than Agassi's at the same age as the Swede took the French Open Mens Singles title in 1974 at age 18 and another five French titles by 1981.
Retiring at age 26 with six Roland Garros titles and five Wimbledon crowns is totally outrageous when you really think about it.
So back to Monte Carlo.
My hero Borg won the event three times, in 1977, '79 and '80 though it was how he won the titles that was most astounding. Back then the event was a best of five sets physical challenge on the slowest surface in the World to play tennis on.
Borg excelled in the longer format of the sport as he was the fittest and most consistent tennis player on the planet in that era.
The three titles Borg won in Monte Carlo in the late 70's were for the loss of just 17 games, while he amassed a total of 55 games ( 9 sets, with just one stretching to 7-5 ). 
Kent Carlsson, another Swede who loved the dirt courts in Europe once lost just 10 games in five matches in an Italian Grand Prix Tennis event in 1987. Tough to beat someone who owns a mindset that refuses to miss and refuses to lose.
Some tennis players get beaten, others lose to themselves through errors. These two you would always have to beat. 
I would loved to have watched Borg and Carlsson at their best play a best of five sets match against each other, may have taken a while.
Monte Carlo in 1991 was a postcard, a place of impeccable scenery and it was everything I had imagined it to be. I entered the main office at the Country Club and received a free Draw sheet and a book on the event. ( About the only free things I found in Monte Carlo ).
I read in black and white that my hero had been beaten in Round 1, just as Brett, Pete and myself had witnessed back in Bordeaux a week earlier. Deep down I was hoping for something else, perhaps a dream that I was back in 1980 watching my hero towel up Vilas 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 in the final as he did back then.
We all have dreams.
This year in Monte Carlo I would imagine that Rafa will go close to winning it again, for the 11th time despite his injured past.
Just like Borg and Carlsson, will take a patient player to beat him........

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

'WELCOME TO THE BIG TIME'

Alex De Minaur was a 'National Hero' back in January as he swept all before him on his way to the semis in Brisbane and the final in Sydney. To top those results off he was also 'lucky' enough to hit regularly in Australia with his new 'mentor', Lleyton Hewitt.
The paparazzi couldn't get enough of it, Alex was the 'new Lleyton' of Australian tennis and we as a tennis loving Nation were finally saved after all the drama with Bernie and Nick. Life was going to be good again in Australian tennis, no doubt about it.
Personally I was a little skeptical about the whole new partnership thing, for two reasons.
Firstly I was under the impression that Alex was in fact a Spanish tennis product as he had been coached on the clay in Spain by a Spanish tennis coach for the last ten or so years plus I wondered what on earth Lleyton had to do with it all apart from his ego.
Anyhow Alex was well and truly over played in those two lead up tournaments to the Oz Open in January and he was physically gone by the time he played Berdych in the first round in Melbourne. Blind Freddy could have seen that after the work load in Brisbane Alex simply required a week of practice and relaxation as opposed to a week of physical torment in a hard court tournament just prior to the first Slam of the year.
( Apparently his team knew better ). 
Anyhow Alex came back after a break and played Davis Cup against Germany, great performance against Zverev, just falling short of a huge victory, 6-7 in the fifth.
The 'Aussie/ Spaniard' has been playing spasmodically since as he searches for a way to win against the big boys of the tour.
Here's an update for you.
Alex won a round in Miami against Struff of Germany before losing 2 and 1 to Del Potro in the second round.
This week however was a real eye opener to just how tough not only the World Tour is but just how tough it is going to be for Alex to make an impression until he becomes both physically and mentally stronger.
At the Grand Prix Hassan in Morocco this week De Minaur scraped past a guy in the first round of qualifying by the name of Geoffrey Blancaneaux of France who is ranked 267 and has won just over $8,000 this year in prize money. No that is not a misprint, Geoffrey has won EIGHT GRAND. 
Alex won when Geoffrey retired in the third set. For the record, the first two sets were split at 6-7, 7-5.
In round two of qualifying Alex lost to a guy by the name of Alexey Vatutin of Russia, ranked 160 who has won $28,000 this year. Not a household name Alexey yet he typifies Mens World Tennis, flash name, owns a ranking to be respected, knows one thing, relies on one thing, the ability to hit a tennis ball. 
That's the problem in World Tennis when a kid comes onto the scene, they are up against men who are physically and mentally years ahead of them. Only the strongest of kids will be able to take the losses and use them as an educational tool for future growth, many pack it in and get a real job.
So Alexey won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 against Alex , nothing in it, yet that's tennis for you, there's never much in it, only the best will sneak through the tough ones on a regular basis. 
It's one thing to win at home in front of a parochial Aussie crowd, it's another to win over the other side of the World against Geoffrey and Alexey in front of a modest Moroccan crowd who couldn't care less who won.
Tough gig tennis, welcome to the big time Alex........




Monday, 9 April 2018

'AND FOR THOSE WHO MISSED IT' ( TA or ATPCA )

This little article of mine seems to still get quite a bit of airplay on the net, so for those who haven't seen it, well, here it is again. 

A comical story......

TA or ATPCA. 
Written 2016
I wrote the following piece around three years ago however the whole debate now has resurfaced. Why ? Well it's like this, Tennis Australia coaching programs now have guys and girls from the ATPCA working for them.
All you have to do is look up a tennis coaching organization anywhere in this Country and put a coach's name into the system.
Once you have done this it will then tell you where the coach is aligned to, whether it be TA or the ATPCA. 
The funny thing is this, many TA 'gurus' who swear by TA in fact have assistant coaches working for them who are paid up members of the ATPCA. 
I find that to be nothing short of hypocritical.
So do Head Coaches really care who their assistant coaches are signed up with, whether it be TA or the ATPCA ?
Or is it only Tennis Australia themselves who really care ?
'TA OR ATPCA' ( written in 2016 )

I once read a rather amusing statement in the paper regarding Tennis Australia Coaches as opposed to 'others' , namely The ATPCA (Australian Tennis Professional Coaches Association).
I also read the letter that was distributed to tennis clubs around Australia, written by Tennis Australia in 2012 who did their utmost to demean the ATPCA.
In a word it was PATHETIC.
Whilst I do not have the article or letter in front of me they both read something along the lines of ; 'Tennis Australia recommend Tennis Australia Coaches only for junior tennis programs, nation wide, etc etc. 
Let's put this into perspective ; Woolies recommend their food over Coles , Dan Murphy's Liquor recommend their product over other Liquor providers as does Toyota over Mazda , but they word their sales pitch's a little smarter than what was written regarding Tennis Australia vs 'others'.
It is no secret that the ATPCA and Tennis Australia do not have much time for each other so rather than me try to explain it I will simply put the Link at the bottom of the page , it's worth a read. 
It is fairly easy to see where the issues began . 
So back to the newspaper article, this was written by a coach who runs TA programs and who is a paid up coaching member of Tennis Australia. 
So where does his point lay ? 
Nowhere, it is a small minded opinion and lacks any substance or credibility. It is a rather humorous way of trying to degrade other Tennis Coaching Associations but falls short of doing anything except embarrassing himself and his Organization.
Now here's the thing, this coach is now a member of the ATPCA as well as running Tennis Australia coaching programs.
Why is this ?
Is there a lack of vision here ?
Is there an identity crisis here ?
Why would you possibly want to be a member of both the TA and ATPCA Coaching organizations ?
Is it simply just something that looks good on a resume ?
Personally I quit the ATPCA about a year ago as I did not receive the answer I was looking for. I asked the ATPCA to explain to me why TA coaches could join the ATPCA after all the crap that has been said about them by TA over the years.
I believe firmly in being a member of one or the other, not both. 
Remember, TA state that if you are a member of any other tennis coaching organization your 'accreditation' will not be recognized. 
Why not TA ?
Not recognized by who ?
Tennis Australia ?
Get over yourself TA.
The ATPCA has been in existence for over 45 years, fact.


Anyone who is prepared to publicly write that their Coaching Provider is better than any other's without a detailed description as to why , including the performance win / loss ratio compared to the other's , in my opinion has his or her head firmly stuck up their own a... 
(I urge you to look up the following article , worth a read )
TA BLUNDER - ATPCA TENNIS
Good day
Regards Glenn

'TRUE STORY'

Being an ex punter is at times a rather ironic thing because things happen in sport, numbers come up and you say to yourself on more than one occasion, 'fair dinkum, if only I had a few dollars on it'. But that's what used to get me into trouble in the first place, I would have a few dollars on two flies crawling up the wall to try and pick which would get to the top first.
Punted on anything and everything, silly time in my life, used to give me a buzz, nearly killed me mentally and it did financially. Such is life, turn the page, new chapter.
I put $200 on Kristyna Pliskova to beat Sam Stosur in two sets at the Aussie Open in 2016. 
Odds of $4.50
Safe bet ? 
Possibly, if it was the RIGHT Pliskova.
You see I got the Pliskova sisters mixed up and I didn't realize that Kristyna was in fact ranked outside the top 100. I thought it was her sister Karolina who was around 80 places higher at the time.
I cashed in my ticket the next day, $1000.
Not a bad 'unforced error' by GT.
I picked Marat Safin to beat Hewitt in 4 sets in the Aussie Open final in 2005. I think I picked up around $600.
Dumb arsed, brain dead stuff it was, all to gain a buzz. My life at the time wasn't going anywhere so I punted for a bit of excitement, it wasn't usually about the money as many punters will tell you, it was more the ride, the adrenalin rush. Some rely on it, I did.
Anyhow I still buy a Lotto ticket, punting on sport I do not, way too many variables in sport.
Back to the irony of numbers coming up.
I sent a buddy a text last Saturday night as he was about to play a tennis tournament Sunday. I knew the opposition he and his doubles partner were about to take on and I knew it was going to be like a Heavy Weight boxer taking on a Bantamweight, however as I say in sport there are many variables so you never know what may transpire.
'Here's the scoreline for you tomorrow Champ, against .... ..... 9-1, against ... ... 9-2, and in your last match you should do that 9-1, I think that covers it buddy, Regards Mats.'
Yes I know, silly tennis talk, I still sign off to some mates as 'Mats', my all time favourite tennis player once my first hero Bjorn Borg retired on me which completely shattered my 14 year old self who relied on Borg for inspiration.
Another story, another day.
Back to my score prediction for the Round Robin event first to 9 games, three matches.
I sent my buddy a text Sunday night, didn't mention the scores, I simply said 'Hey Champ how was my prediction of you guys losing just 4 games, was I on the money' ?
Here's his reply.
'9-1, 9-2, 9-1, lost 4 games all up, won the day.........
My first thought was that it was sort of like picking a trifecta on the horses, exact order, odds not in the punters favour yet sometimes the numbers come in, rare as rocking horse shit in reality.
If only I could have been that exact when I used to punt on sport.......
True story.