Do I ever get sick of having a shot at an industry that has been rather good to me over the years ? Well in some ways I am disappointed that it has got to this stage as it's an industry that keeps me in touch with the public , keeps me fit , keeps me from sitting at home. When I was a lad I once had a tennis lesson with a guy from Perth who tore strips off my style , yet I respect him to this day , Rob Casey , a Western Australian tennis genius , both in playing and coaching ability.
It was one of those tennis lessons you look back on and think ' shit am I that bad'? But it wasn't that I didn't have some good results or near misses for that matter. I remember two matches in State Championships in the 16's age group , in the same year . I lead by a set and a break to two guys who were seeded 2 and 3 respectively , one went on to win the Tournament (Damian Hampson), the other was runner up(Mark Leuba) . I wondered what could have been if I had held my nerve , yet Rob didn't see it like this , he had other theories.(by the way look these guys up , they could play the game).
'You are good enough to push the good players but you simply aren't good enough to beat them , your game has flaws , it isn't a game that can consistently match it with the best in the State, but you are competitive'. That to me gave me heart to persevere, so I did , I was runner up in the Fremantle State Champs the same year , just not quite good enough to win , but as always and what I still pride my tennis on , I was COMPETITIVE.
I read some recent results of State Championships and did some analyzing of certain players and it's amazing how many 0 and 0 matches there are, that's not competitive. A 6-2, 6-3 loss to a seeded player means you were competitive, a big difference from a belting where you don't get a game. To me this is where guys like Rob Casey should be utilized by the game in Australia as it needs honesty , not a fictional opinion.
Despite Rob's opinion of my game I spent 18 months in Queensland and I gave it my best . I hit at the Coops training facility in Brisbane each day and I practised against Pat Rafter and Andrew Kratzmann , a Queenslander who once made it to number 13 in the World in doubles and who also lost an epic 5 set Australian Open Doubles final . I never lost to Andrew in any challenge match at Coops , but looking back I was always realistic, it wasn't tournament matches that we were playing.
So back to my take on the tennis coaching industry; If every Tennis Coach in this country had the same views on the game as Rob Casey then most of the Australian Institute Of Sport scholarship holders would not have been given the time of day as far as the game of tennis is concerned , they would be the next posties, gardeners and City council workers of the community. But Tennis Australia don't see things like this , and they don't get guys like Rob Casey to assess tennis players before they give up their lives to try and make it on the tennis circuit. Instead they prefer to justify their existence by employing 'Mickey Mouse 'tennis 'coaches' who know nothing.
I will continue my 'shot' at the tennis coaching industry until we see some results . I will do my bit to achieve these results ,realistically at a realistic rate per hour, just like any other job goes, it's called 'being accountable'.....