Friday, 18 October 2013


When I first started to learn the game of Tennis in Albany as a 12 year old, I remember my Dad saying to me one day after I played Club Tennis at The C and S Tennis Club 'If you want to go anywhere with your Tennis you will have to eventually beat Peter'. This was in reference to my old Coach, Peter Holmes, both a technical and tactical genius of the game.
I recall coming home one Saturday after around 7 hours on court that included Junior Club in the morning followed by Senior Club that afternoon, with about an hour in between, and saying to my folks ' Peter Holmes is unbelievable'. Hence, the comment from my Dad which initially I laughed at, but then realised the 'factual' side of it. Within 3 years I took a set from Peter in practice, a huge jump in improvement when looked at realistically, (Peter was the Country Week Singles Champion). Sure it was only a 7-5 set win (I lost the first 1-6) but it showed me that I was getting somewhere. As I have said many times, I was improving because it was affordable for my parents to pay for my tuition, around $15 an hour, one on one.
Looking back if I had a part time job I would have had more lessons at my own cost, Peter was a genius. Between the ages of 12 and 15 I went from losing first round in the Albany Open Junior Singles (0-6) to winning my first State Championship Title at The Melville Junior Championships in Perth. My buddy Dale Jones and I beat the Number 1 State Ranked pair of Tim Burrows and Ken Mcreery 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 (Ken was also a Country Week Singles Champion)  in the semis and then won the final easily.
The same year I was unlucky to draw former Albany boy Mark Leuba in the Trinity State Hardcourt Titles in Perth in the first round (at the time he was ranked 2 in the State) yet I lead 7-5 4-3, then was outplayed in the final set. Leuba went on to make the final and lost to the current Cottesloe Tennis Club Coach David Culley who was the State's best junior for many years.
My early hitting with my former Coach Peter toughened me up, though it took until I was 28 years of age until I finally beat Peter in a singles Tournament (I did leave Albany for 12 years though). In fairness to Peter, he was 40 at the time .
Tennis has it's ups and downs especially when you are a junior, more a head game than anything else when you are a kid, but one thing sticks in my head.
My Former Coach Peter was not only a great Coach but he was a great player and never shied away from a challenge , even when he was up against kids half his age. At age 40 he could quite easily have taken on an Official's role for the day rather than put his game on the line, yet he played.
He wanted to set an example to his students, and why not? If the legs and mind are willing......
I respected Peter for his ability to not only teach the game 'without the hype' but to match his 'talk the talk' with his ability to 'walk the walk'. It is no disgrace to lose to the kids you once taught, it's disappointing if you don't give them a chance to do it......
The Region's greatest ever Tennis Coach and player was Peter Holmes, Country Week Champion and in my view a perfect example of 'Hype WITH Substance'.........

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