Friday, 29 November 2013


I heard recently that a top junior was doing everything possible to get their standard to the 'REQUIRED,' to make it count. Quite incredible the lengths some people go to and the money that changes hands to try to get to the 'standard required'. I hear it regularly now days that parents pay kids to hit with their's, so why has it got to this ? What's wrong with a weekly Round Robin singles comp at the local club or are parents just being too choosy as to who is good enough to hit with their 'prodigy'? As a 14 and 15 year old I would grab a mate and play best of 5 sets , we didn't care who won , i remember winning once 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 , so what ? we played 21 games , that's still a lot of tennis , why doesn't it happen now days ? I don't remember the last time i spoke to a parent or child that gave me the answer i really want to hear 'Hey Glenn i played best of 3 sets two days ago , it was great , it taught me that there is more to the game than you feeding me tennis balls'! Silly isn't it ? The fact that i would prefer a kid to go and 'nut the game out' than rely on a bloke with a hat and a qualification to hit them balls and say 'great shot buddy , you are on the move , keep it up'. Is it as i have eluded to many times , the sign of the times ? 'This guy is charging $70 per hour' (or in some cases , more ), 'he must be good'. Sad but a reality , litigation kicked in quite some time ago , and just as Mechanics regularly try to justify their existence, it's what the public is simply 'used to now days'. My mechanic is a guy who works part time , i trust him , so does my car , it hasn't missed a beat , he charges me $50 an hour , he is one of the most experienced mechanics in town , do i think less of him for charging less ? I respect him more , he knows he does a great job , he knows that i know , his flow of customers is constant , smart man . Do i have a point ?
Use your initiative as a consumer , a Tennis Coach only does so much , if he or she is any good he will give you some good advice , this is what i say 'I can give you 4 lessons a week if you like but it isn't going to make you a great tennis player , think outside the square. I will give you a technique lesson once a week , i will also give you a drills session but what i really want you to do is PLAY THE GAME , as best that you can for another two days of the week . The other days i want you to both rest and also do some sprinting up hills , get the legs strong , but find a day or two for a mate , live a little , after all you are playing a game that has a strike rate of success of 1 in a million' . If you are unsure of your child's potential , have a look at a kid by the name of Yovan Lambros play on You Tube , he is 12 , he is simply brilliant , he must have a fantastic program . 
The problem with being this good at this age is pretty straight forward . He devotes all his time to a sport that is quite frankly pretty tough to master , it's not like a team sport where the work load is shared . While Yovan's mates are having a bit of a blast at the training centre for basketball or footy , he is trying to beat the only other kid within 60 feet of him into a pulp . Personally, I teach the game to 'fulfill a pupil's potential' , other's teach it to drag the process on as long as they possibly can to drain their student's parent's bank account. It's a tough sport Tennis , but you don't have to pay your friend's kids to hit and play sets with your child to try to get them up to speed , you just simply have to use your initiative. There are no guarantees in the game of Tennis , let your kid develop , if they have the talent it will show , help them grab a mate , play 5 sets , nut the game out. I recently watched my son's inter school running carnival , fair dinkum some of those kids could run , the talent was amazing , how many will become the next Usain Bolt ? You do the sums .......
Let them fulfill their potential ,after that anything can happen , don't push it , most importantly though, let them live a little......

Monday, 25 November 2013


Remember the hit by legendary Australian Rock Band Skyhooks called 'Ego' ? "Ego is not a dirty word"were the lyrics to the chorus, brilliant , and after all these years of playing a game that is 'ego fuelled' , that song makes a lot of sense. Why do you think Lleyton Hewitt keeps playing ? Do you think he enjoys the pain his body goes through after each match now days against younger opponents that run him ragged ? Do you think he needs any more money ?? It's the lime light that he still craves , he loves the big stage even if he doesn't still command the same crowd that he once did when he was the best in the world , he loves the challenge , he still thinks he has 'unfinished business'. What does this mean ? Hewitt is the sort of guy who , despite his arrogant past thinks he still hasn't done something in the game that he should have done when he was younger . Why do you think Bjorn Borg made a comeback after nearly ten years of retirement from a game he was the world's best at for several years before he burnt out at the tender age of 26 ? He craved the lime light once again , the attention , the press conferences , the signing of autographs , the photo sessions , the newspaper articles , the records he was breaking . If Borg had stayed fit and kept playing he may have won the French Open more times than Nadal , after all he retired in 1981 with 6 French Open victories, he was the defending Champion in '82 but he didn't play . His younger countryman , Mats Wilander carried on the Swedish tradition and kept the flag flying at Roland Garros for the 5th straight year , Sweden 'owned' the French Open in that era .
Tennis can do many things to a player , it can bring euphoria with a win , heartbreak and mental anguish with a loss and if you hit the big time  financial reward is simply a bonus .
For those players wanting to test themselves in the competition side of Tennis , make sure you own the following 'necessities' ; A big heart (small or no hearts don't cut it ), the ability to accept defeat , the refusal to lose , the desire to win , a sense of humor , a fit body , a strong mind , technical brilliance, a bank account with plenty of zero's on the end and a lack of fear regarding opponents with reputations and higher rankings .
If you think you have all of the above as a future star of the game then this is definitely the game for you . Tennis in Australia needs you , currently the amount of successful Pro's in this Country resembles quite frankly a needle in a haystack , every now and then you find one . If Lleyton was upstaged by a dozen or so younger Aussies on a regular basis then i doubt he would still be playing , at 31 , apart from Tomic , he is this Country's best , Egotistical and with plenty of 'unfinished Business '. Hewitt knows exactly what he is doing , hanging around until he is overtaken by younger talent , a shame Borg didn't do the same , Fed's 17 Grand Slams may not have been the magic number.......

Saturday, 23 November 2013

'BORDEAUX' (Europe 1991 Part 6)

The beautiful French City of Bordeaux , population 235 ,000 plus , in South Western France  is known to many as 'The World's Wine Capital', it bottles 700 million bottles each year , didn't mean much to Brett , Pete or myself , we were there to play Tennis. Not quite sure why we went to Bordeaux but i am glad we did , for a few reasons but the night we had at The Bordeaux pub after we had all got beaten in the local Tournament was a night to remember. 
The local Bordeaux Tennis Tournament was played on clay , the setting was simply magnificent, I wished i had taken some photos, some things in life you simply take for granted , especially when you are 21. I do remember playing a Frenchman who knew how to play on the red dirt though and i received an 'education', you learn more from a loss than a win , I was a real 'student' at this Tournament. From memory Pete and Brett also lost early , so what do 3 young fellows from Oz do when they need to drown their sorrows ? You got it , find a pub. Now the watering hole we found was no ordinary pub , it had a screen on the wall large enough to be a Cinema , at the time it was playing Surfing footage , a nice feel as we walked in and ordered a round of beers . I don't recall what we ordered however it got the 'fluent French' going and it didn't take long to start 'chatting up' the local French ladies . When a French woman speaks it is a sound to behold , they have a way about them that is ever so petite and simply elegant , so much so that i do remember vividly telling one that i simply 'loved her', was it the beer talking or my heart? probably the beer. 
We were in the pub with maybe 5 other Australian Tennis players and the feel that night was that we were '10 foot tall and water proof' , something that would've come in handy as we engaged in a beer fight on the way to the outside toilets towards the end of the night. Not sure why we didn't get kicked out , but hey if we were challenged i believe that 'ignorance' may just have helped us out of trouble . We played in the same Tournament as an Australian female player named Sissy Carvin, she was 16 at the time but somehow she made it through the rather lame security check with her older brother George . Not sure what happened to Sissy , I do know she broke inside the top World 700 for Women , after that it's a mystery , that night at the Bordeaux pub though where Sissy left as though she had been in a shower , courtesy of the beer fight, may just be one of her more 'unique' experiences on the Tennis circuit.
Probably the highlight of the trip to Bordeaux was the anticipation towards the comeback of Tennis Great Bjorn Borg , a match we watched on a tv in the local Sporting Club , Brett and Pete even had a bet on it . After Borg hit the second shot of the match past his extremely younger opponent Brett upped the bet , Pete accepted , it was to be the Great Man's last hurrah and Jordi Arrese from Spain won easily , the fairy tale was not meant to be . 
Bordeaux is a beautiful French town , it is famous for wineries , if i were to visit there again i think it would be to take in more of the scenery but i would make two visits in particular, the first , the  Tennis Club that was a postcard. Secondly the Bordeaux pub , a place that if it's walls talked i am sure would reminisce about some strange Aussies who spoke 'pigeon English' , threw beer at each other and told the local girls they were 'loved' , a night to remember......

Thursday, 21 November 2013


In a game as difficult both physically and mentally demanding as tennis would it be possible to get yourself into a mindset that refuses to give in ? One of my chapters touches on World Tennis greatest comebacks and when you look at a situation like the Davis Cup final in 1996 being down 0-40 and 6-7 in the fifth set it takes a remarkable mind to turn the situation around , a 'refusal to lose'. When i was in primary school in grade 6 at the Inter school Sports  i vividly remember losing to a guy named Phil Gilbert in the 100 m , 200 m and 4 x 100 relay , then again in the final of the 100 m and 200 m , i even remember the 200 m to this day . I started in a good lane , was equal on the turn to Phil then watched him 'disappear' over the finish line with barely a whimper from myself , I didn't push it , I was 'happy' to finish second (weak as piss) . The following year something happened , the mouse was going round the treadmill in my own head , second was no longer an option , I was there to WIN. I won the 100 m , the 200 m , the 4 x 100 m relay as the anchor man and i beat Phil in the final of the 100 and 200 m , so what changed ? We were both growing at the same rate  , but the mind can be your slave or your master , I was in 'control' this time around and that final year  that i finished primary School i was officially the fastest kid in my region , nice feeling. 
In my last chapter i spoke of not wanting to play tennis at one point as my head was in another stratosphere , it was a pointless exercise to try to win at something if my head was not prepared to wage a war against the opponent . Tennis isn't just a physical game , anyone can hit a tennis ball , Jimmy Connors got it right i believe " 90 percent mental , 10 percent physical", smart man was Jimbo. 
The Champ of Champs on that particular year put my head right again , the win in the final match to give my Club the title kick started three years of some of my best Tennis , and all after hitting 40 years of age , shouldn't i be losing to kids half my age? Look at Connors , Semi finalist at the US Open at age 39 , beating guys half his age , half his experience , do you think he was in the 'Zone' mentally ? All those years of playing has to account for something , unless you are a dummy , the game will only become easier and your shot making only smarter , it's the way the game works. 
The win at the local Club vs Club Championships all those years ago got some fire in the belly , I won that year and the next , against a kid who had the audacity to call me a 'hack' just because i saw a flaw early in the match regarding his technique and i decided to use it to my advantage. I then won again against the same kid who i beat 10-5 in the deciding match tie breaker 3 years earlier. Three victories straight against kids who had rather strong reputations and games to match but lacked the 'fundamentals', the will to win and the refusal to lose . As i said earlier , Tennis is the sort of game you get smarter at as you get older , if you are getting 'dumber ,' it's time for golf......

Friday, 15 November 2013


Some Tennis 'educations' aren't necessarily on a Tennis court , some are learnt from others simply through talking about the game , when I was 16 I vividly remember one that has stuck in my mind.
It was probably six months into my Queensland stint when I travelled to Grafton NSW to play a Tournament , a beautiful little town with a fantastic Tennis Club, clay and synthetic courts .
Just prior to leaving Western Australia I played my buddy Mark Heather , a highly ranked Perth player and he belted me 6-1,6-1 in the State Championships , he then moved to Brisbane and trained at Coops also. My mindset changed somewhat when I was drawn to play Mark on the clay , I knew the slower surface suited my playing style better than the quicker hard courts in Perth. From memory Mark was seeded fairly high at Grafton, but I had no fear on this occasion. We played in the round of 16 in the Men's Open singles and after losing a close first set 4-6 I lead 4-2 in the second and remember having a point to level at 5-5 in the second before losing 4-6 again , this was 'my' surface. The slower pace gave me all the time I needed to sit back and hit the groundstrokes , as clay does , but it's a 'young man's' surface , you need to be fit .From memory that weekend I played over 15 matches as it was possible to play as many as 4 events so I played 3 singles events plus a doubles, and I went far in each event. If the Coops training facility was on clay courts I believe my results would've been far better, some surfaces you excel on .
On the way back to Brisbane I was lucky enough to gain a lift with 'Steady'(Justin Stead) who won the Mixed Open Event and lost in the final of the Men's Open singles , Steady had a great Tournament . Now here was a guy who everyone looked up to at Coops , his work ethic on and off court (in the gym) was second to none and I for one had a lot of respect for Steady. He and his good friend Mark Heather who I mentioned earlier in fact went to the same University in the US and played College Tennis together in later years .So to my 'education'; Playing good and great players will make you lift your own standard but Steady had an 'aura' about him , when he talked , you listened, such was his knowledge and philosophical view on the game. In all reality I probably took a lot of my theories and philosophies on the game from talking to 'guru's' like Justin and used them to my advantage , in playing and Coaching. I talked in another chapter regarding Steady and the hit I had with him that I regarded as a highlight of my time at Coops, but this trip in particular was probably what really taught me what was important , not just on court but in life. Justin talked in length on his outlook on the game and his realistic evaluation of his own ability , which isn't given enough credit . While most of the guys who trained at Coops were hell bent on trying to make it onto the Pro Tour as teenagers Steady talked about waiting for his body and mind to mature before he even contemplated taking on the big guns. I recall him vividly saying that he wasn't expecting to do anything with his game until he was at least 22 or 23 , that realistic outlook has so much credibility now days . Only the one in a millions like Nadal make it as successful teenagers , in reality most Professional Tennis players don't win regularly until they are well into their twenties , the body needs time to mature .
Steady didn't quite make it on the Pro Tour yet he made it in life , he successfully runs a huge Business in London and he sent me an email just the other night . Whilst he doesn't gloat remotely about himself , he casually mentioned that he went out to dinner with a friend of his by the name of Pat Cash , Australian Tennis Legend. Steady was always going to 'make it' in life , he had that ability to get the best out of himself and others for that matter. He now mixes it with the best in his chosen profession and I expected nothing less from him . Tennis is one of those sports , if you mix with the best , on and off court , it will only make you better.......

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


Men's Tennis has seen some incredible comebacks over the years , especially in Davis Cup and Grand Slam singles matches , a few have stuck in my mind , here's some stat's;
In The US Open in 1989 Boris Becker played an American by the name of Derrick Rostagno who reached a career high of 13 in 1991 , Rostagno lead 2 sets to love and held 2 match points in the fourth set tie breaker 6-4 . Becker saved the first when Rostagno missed a volley on his own serve then was a little lucky on his own serve at 5-6 when Rostagno chipped and charged his second serve . Becker hit a cross court forehand that his opponent was all over like a rash but it hit the top of the net and landed in , Boris won in 5 sets . Becker won the Championship that year , Rostagno did recover from the loss though and went on to record victories over Sampras and Connors at Wimbledon in the following years . He retired in 1996 after making close to 2 million dollars on the Tennis Circuit , but probably wonders what could've been if he had converted either of his two match points against Becker. Rostagno is now a Lawyer in the US.
In 1996 the Davis Cup Final was held in Malmo Sweden and unfortunately for Stefan Edberg who was playing his final year on the tour , he was injured in the first match against France's Cedric Pioline , he lost easily . Doubles expert Niklas Kulti was put in as a replacement and was asked to play the final and deciding match against France's Arnaud Boetsch , scores were locked at 2-2 . Kulti lead 7-6 and 0-40 on the Frenchman's serve , 3 match points for the title , he lost the game and the match , 8-10 in the 5th set , but Kulti recovered . In 1997 and 1998 he played in Sweden's winning Davis Cup sides against the USA and Italy , he partnered Jonas Bjorkman to win the pivotal Doubles matches , erasing his heartbreaking loss in 1996. He retired in 2000 with over $3 million in earnings and runs a Tennis Academy in Sweden.
Perhaps one of the all time greatest 'chokes' came in 2004 at The French Open where the then World number 3 Argentinian Guillermo Coria took on countryman Gaston Gaudio , ranked 44 , in the final . Coria won the first 8 games of the match , lead 2 sets to love then 40-0 on his own serve to go up 5-4 in the third set . He fell apart and lost the third and fourth sets but lead 5-3 in the fifth and held two Championship points , he lost them both and the title to Gaudio 6-8 in the fifth . Coria appeared to never fully recover from the loss , his ranking slipped and he won only one more title . In 2005 memories of the French Final came back to haunt him in the Rome Masters final against Rafael Nadal when he lead 3-0 in the fifth and final set and held a point for a 4-0 lead before losing. Coria struggled to close out the big matches . He retired in 2009 with nearly $6 million in earnings and apparently coaches his younger brother now days.  
Tough game is Tennis , can make or break you , sometimes only a point separates the household names from the battlers......

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Growing up I was hooked on Tennis from watching guys like Borg , McEnroe and Connors play , but it was mainly Borg who influenced me to practice for hours at a time on my brick garage wall , some days I would hit for up to 3 hours . It was by chance that my Grandpa gave my sister the Bjorn Borg book , his life story and I read it almost as much as i played , it inspired me , I was devastated when he retired at age 26. I was looking for a player to look up to after Borg called it quits and it didn't take long for me to get over Borg's retirement as his younger Countryman Mats Wilander burst onto the scene at age 17 , winning the French Open in 1982. Mats was a Borg 'clone' but I loved the fact that he volleyed more than Borg , his ground strokes were however just as sharp and his on court attitude just as intense , to me Mats was my idol and my inspiration to play . I loved the way both he and Borg were prepared to stay out on court for as long as it took to wear their opponent down , physically and mentally , their biggest weapon apart from their passing shots , their minds.
If you compare guys like Borg and Wilander to today's best , Djokovic and Nadal , their differences are huge , the two Swedes relied on spin and patience whereas today's best rely on power and consistency . If you throw Connors and McEnroe into the mix you will note the difference in net attacks , Mac in particular , but Connors got to the net whenever he could , despite not being renowned for having a great volley . 
If Novak had Mac's volleying expertise and stayed injury free I would think that he would be unbeatable for the next 5 years , such is his ability to hit an outstanding approach shot . I believe that in the years to come Djokovic will improve his volleying technique as his body will want to finish the rallies a lot earlier than he does at the moment . Jimmy Connors hit such flat approach shots with precise accuracy that he was quite often given easy volleys to put away , yet if you watch highlights of him from all those years ago his volleying technique was rather sound without being 'text book'. 
Borg rarely volleyed but like Djokovic and Nadal when he did come to the net it was usually behind a great approach which made his put away shot a lot simpler , Mats was different again. He was a player who didn't own a big shot yet he picked his moments to come in , his volleying was at times brilliant , a fact proven by his Wimbledon Doubles Title .So what does all this mean ? It all adds up to a guy who I haven't even mentioned up to this point , Roger Federer , a player who had the 'complete' game , no weaknesses and an ability to finish a point almost at will . All of the other players mentioned had strengths and weaknesses and given their time again I am sure would've worked harder on their weaker shots.
I make a point when I teach the game that no session goes by without a net play or approach shot routine , the two things that can stop you from sitting on the baseline all day , as you get older you certainly appreciate the ability to slice , approach well and have a solid volley to end a rally . Tennis is a game that unless you lack common sense you will only get smarter at , keep fit , the best is ahead of you.....

Monday, 11 November 2013

'FREEDOM OF CHOICE' (Coaching Providers)

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), the Association I currently belong to . Whilst I do not have the article in front of me it read something along the lines as ; '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 Oz 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 is aligned to Tennis Australia , so where does his point lay ? Nowhere , it is a small minded opinion and lacks any substance or credibility , it is simply a 'point of view'. 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 'Organisation'.
Tennis is an egotistical Sport without a doubt , you have to have an ego to play it and an even bigger one to teach it , but some people know how to keep their ego's under control , others abuse their 'Authority'. I have plenty of views regarding the game of Tennis so i write about it on this site , people can choose to read it or ignore it .I do not publicly state that the ATPCA is in any way a better Organisation than Tennis Australia , I simply choose to be with these guys because i believe their direction is for the good of the game. 
Anyone who is prepared to publicly write that their 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 ....  'Ego' may be my next chapter...... 
(I urge you to click the following Link , worth a read )

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Etiquette, Tennis etiquette to be precise, something that the World number 2 Victoria Azarenka does not own , but she is like her boyfriend , Redfoo, publicity seeker, and in her case , 'Drama Queen'. At the Australian open in January the official rules book was thrown out by Tennis Australia as they gave Victoria 'all the time she needed' to get her emotions back on track and face her rather less experienced and younger opponent Sloane Stephens in the Semi finals. This whole situation was one of the greatest 'farces' in modern day Tennis and Tennis Australia should be ashamed of themselves for letting it go to the lengths that they did , the 'twisting of the rules' was to say the least , embarrassing , if it had happened in the Men's event , well......, it wouldn't have happened. Poor Victoria after having it all her own way en route to the final , lead 6-1 and 5-4 , but this lead was not enough as her opponent was starting to find a way back into the match , so she embarked on a rather public 'soul searching' mission, albeit, in the change rooms . She claimed she had trouble breathing , this happens to all players , it's called 'choking' , but she should know how to deal with this problem , how else do you make it to the top of your class it your chosen sport? 
Anyhow it's on the net , look it up if you aren't clear on the whole ridiculous situation but next year the Australian Open should come with a 'guarantee' for all players , Men and Women as the precedent has now been set ; 'If things get tight , don't be afraid to resort to the 'tactical' side of things , fake a lung complaint , start breathing with distress , the Officials will give you a free pass and as much time as you need to regroup , after all it's a big business Tennis . If Azarenka had been forfeited she only would've picked up around $600 Grand as a losing Semi Finalist , the winner , a guaranteed 1 Million , win or lose , Victoria obviously had her sights set on the mil.....
Disappointing to say the least by Tennis Australia , it would've sent a clear message to all players if Azarenka had been forfeited as she should have been , after all whether you are feeling good or bad , when you take the court , especially at that level , you are declared 'fit and ready to go'.
So back to the headline , 'Etiquette'; Tennis is a boxing match however far away from your opponent that you are , it's a 'war' , an 'ego battle' and a mind game , if standards are similar then the strongest mind prevails . You see it regularly in junior Tournaments , the kid who is expected to win but gets challenged often resorts to 'gutter tactics' , unprofessional  line calling and 'chit chat' , trying to unsettle the 'lesser' credentialed opponent. Bjorn Borg was possibly the greatest mind in the game , he was prepared to stay out there as long as it took , after all what else was there to do , the house cleaning ?? Too many kids want to get ' the job done' as quickly as possible , way too many other things to do in your spare time , they should watch Borg vs Vilas , French Open in the late 70's , these guys weren't in a hurry to go anywhere. 
So etiquette stems from who you really are , do you want to go the distance in the game or are you just looking for a 'quick fix' ? Do you appreciate your talent and at the same time appreciate your opponent's ability as he or she is 'responsible' for your next hour or two's entertainment ? 
Tennis players generally are well behaved , look at Rafa and Roger , brilliant ambassadors for the sport , when was the last time one of these guys 'disappeared' for 10 or so minutes 'cos he couldn't close out the Championship ??
Azarenka won this year , she lost a lot of respect though , and that's what defines a player...........

Friday, 8 November 2013


When you travel to Europe to play a game as tough as Tennis , many thoughts go through your mind but being on the other side of the World and losing to Europeans who didn't speak fluent English can test your sense of humor. In saying that , it was as i have said many times , an 'Education' that set my coaching up and gave me a rather shrewd and 'down to earth' philosophy that in some instances has probably cost me money. In line with my 'Ugly Parent' post that i published just recently on my site I feel that some Parents don't want the 'truth' regarding their child's 'real' ability , they want to hear an 'inflated' version instead , good for their ego as well as their 'prodigy's'. I have always told it how i see it , I make no apologies for it either , because in the end it is a game that is not unlike golf , the similarities of the individual sports are evident. If you kick the ball out of the bush and tell your mates you 'chipped' it then who did you cheat ? And if as a Coach of the game of Tennis you tell the pupil that they are ready to take on the 'big guns' in the City when they are battling to hit 10 balls over in a row then who are you cheating ? 
In Europe after a series of first round losses in singles that i was competitive in most , my first victory actually came in the form of a Doubles win in a little town called Garoult , perhaps 100 kilometres from the city of Paris. Peter and I played together for the first time and we made it to the final against two German players and I was lucky enough to be on the same side of the net as a guy who had a great all round game , Pete didn't have too many weaknesses. We came away with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory and we partied long into the night , Peter also won the singles against Brett in the final , an 'Australian whitewash' in Paris......
The prize money wasn't life changing but enough at least to buy some food , fuel and to put a few dollars back into the pocket to keep the sense of humor in tact. How many players who have traveled to Europe can lay claim to winning a Tennis Tournament on their first outing and in the process receive a newspaper article written on them ??! I wish we had kept that paper or at least the article as it would be up in a frame on my wall for all to see , the trophy also has disappeared , probably courtesy of shifting house 15 times over the last 23 years......
The European trip and in particular the Doubles victory with Peter Gerrans will long be remembered as one of those 'life changing experiences' for one reason or another but one thing is for certain . Having an insight into the World of Tennis as opposed to a 'text book education' has defined me as a Coach and I would like to think that my current and future students will continue to learn the game with a realistic approach.I called my site Glenn Thompson Tennis Technique for a reason , forget the gimmicks and the smoke and mirror routines , get the technique right and the rest will fall into place , trust me.......

Friday, 1 November 2013


When i was a kid first starting to play Tournaments in Perth i recall watching some fellow juniors play , hoping that one day i would be good enough to match it with them . Out of all the juniors that i saw one stood out from the rest , Paul Kilderry , a kid who was taught by his Father Rob to play and a kid who's shot making was inspiring. I first saw Paul play at the East Fremantle Tennis Club during The Coca Cola Junior Tournament , at the time the State's biggest competition for juniors , the numbers for the tournament were huge . From memory Paul played up a couple of age groups as kids his own age didn't get close to him , in fact i believe at age 12 he contested the 18's , and his height was even more remarkable , four foot nothing...
There was always a huge crowd at the back of the court to see him play , such was the ability of his game at such a young age , there weren't too many shots 'Killer' couldn't do as well as the best 18 year olds in the State. This particular tournament I first saw him play i believe he lost in the Semi's against a touring Swedish player by the name of Christian Christensen , a great match with the Swede saving a couple of match points.(my memory for scores , stats and names even surprises myself sometimes ,4-6, 7-5 , 6-1 , should be in the East Fremantle Tennis Club archives somewhere).
The next time i saw Paul play was in The West Australian Open Doubles final where he teamed with Roger Grant , the State's best male player at the time and who also once had a victory over former Swedish World number 1 Stefan Edberg (2-6, 7-6, 7-6). Roger and young Paul who may have been 13 at the time took on the State's best Men's Doubles combination at the time of David Culley and Mark Leuba and this match was incredible , played at Royal Kings Park Tennis Club. From a 2-6 deficit in the third set tie breaker 'Killer and Roger reeled off 6 straight points to take the title and one thing stood out for me that match , the young fellow's 'lack of fear' against the 'big boys'. His ability to not be intimidated by guys much older and physically stronger than him was the one thing that set him aside from other juniors and his shot making under extreme pressure , especially in the final tie breaker was mesmerizing.
Paul went on to not only travel the World playing the game but he had a standout victory in Florida one year against Wimbledon Champion Richard Krajicek and he reached a career high of 138 in 1995. Paul also travelled regularly with his good mate Pat Rafter as his hitting partner and from memory again i believe he was asked to practice with legends such as Andre Agassi and Boris Becker, such was his ability.
Now days when i teach kids to play i often think back to Paul Kilderry's ability at age 12 and wonder if his standard was one of a kind , i have never seen a kid close to his ability in the last 30 years . It does however give me the 'benchmark' in my head as to what standard needs to be reached to even have a chance at making a living from the game and it also helps me teach Tennis with a 'realistic' approach.....