Friday, 27 February 2015


I have been saying it now for a long, long time, Roger Rasheed is not a tennis coach, he is a fitness expert. Rasheed took Hewitt from World Number 1 to number 19 in a short period of time yet he seems to be a walk up start to coaching gigs with top players. So how did his resume look after he finished with Hewitt ? Not flattering.
He then spent time with Monfils and Tsonga, now he is with a man who is going to be known as ' the greatest waste of talent in Mens Tennis' unless he finds a guy who can teach him how to play. Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria has all the shots with no game plan or a way to beat the top guys or even guys who he should be beating for that matter. His loss to Ryan Harrison in Acapulco proved just that.
Ranked a lowly 169 the American found a way to handle the windy conditions better than his opponent who many have touted as the 'baby Federer'.
Dimitrov has all the shots with out all the ideas and he reminds me of a young Andre Agassi before the 'brains trust' Brad Gilbert got inside his head and turned things around. Grigor is in desperate need of his very own 'Gilbert' as it's one thing to be coached by a fitness expert, it's another to be learning the game from a genius.
If I was still a betting Man I would have my beach shack on Rasheed to be looking for another job before the financial year is up......


I always say that you can always count on the 'Big Boys' for a 'real' tennis lesson as opposed to the usual $70 per hour garbage that delivers 'great shot buddy, you are going places'. No it's a fantastic thing when the 'Big Fish' in the small pond get out there and really taste what it's all about.
This weekend there a few tournaments on around our State and I see some 'Big Fish' may just get fried but it's money well spent.
I see it as a lot better value than the countless amounts of wasted dollars thrown at 'ball hitters' who do their best to try to justify their outrageous hourly prices.
Just checked some Draws, some 'Rabbits' drawn in the first round, the second round is where the fun begins.......
The World's hottest teenager Borna Coric just received the greatest tennis lesson of his life from the best ever, Roger Federer. It puts it all into perspective. Andy Murray managed just 4 games against the 18 year old up start yet Federer only lost 3 games to Coric. Do you think Roger may have put a little extra into his own game just to teach the young fellow a thing or two about the art of tennis ?
The greatest lessons in tennis are not the ones that cost most working parents three hours pay in a 'real job'. They are not the lessons learned from a guy who has a piece of paper which says he is a 'Qualified Tennis Coach'.
They are not the lessons learned from a young lad who apparently 'used to be a top ranked junior' ( who no one has ever heard of ).The greatest tennis lessons are learned from the best players, the 'cheap' ones which may have cost a parent $20 for an entry fee.
If a kid wins 0 and 0 against a nobody then he fails to learn a single thing from the game. If he loses 0 and 0 then there is a real education in the sport of tennis.
If a kid wins a bike race by two miles did he win against the best opposition or did the kid who lost by two miles lose to the best opposition ? Either way who received the best education ? I would go with the 'loser', he has something to work on, the winner is 'superman' and needs to do nothing more with his technique, until he gets beaten of course.
There are always more losers in tennis than winners otherwise every player would earn a mil a year. Take the losses as a win in experience and go find a practice partner who can beat you easily. When you start getting close, go find a better one.
You can spend a fortune on tennis lessons or you can use your brains, you do the sums......

Thursday, 26 February 2015


I read the local paper today, interesting sports round up, there was a junior tennis tournament last weekend at the home of The Albany Open, The Emu Point Tennis Club, the region's best tennis venue. Strange write up however it was to be expected, the game is changing.
This year it apparently had a close finish in a boys age group that even went to a count back, sounds like a good day's tennis. What I was a bit uncertain of was the way in which the local newspaper described the outcome of that particular age group. 
Apparently 'illness' played a part, yep 'illness'. One of the kids who lost on count back apparently was 'suffering from illness' yet he managed to almost win the event. Is anyone following me on this ?
Why on earth would that be mentioned in a kids tennis tournament and who did this information come from ? Was it the kid, the kid's parent or the tournament organizer or was it from a coach ? Whoever shared this 'significant' information with the local newspaper reporter, well all I can say is this, you are a fair dinkum goose mate. 
The kid who was reportedly 'ill' now has the 'bragging rights' locally. Yep he is the kid who lost the junior tournament due to 'illness' and not because he wasn't good enough to win through ability. If that was my kid playing and he or she lost while under duress due to 'illness' I would be saying 'keep that to yourself, if you are up to hitting today then you will not even mention your lack of 100 per cent health'. 
What I would also be saying at the end of the tournament would be that if they were good enough to just lose on a count back then the next time around I would say you are a better than average chance to go one step better. I would also be saying to them to keep things under your hat when playing tennis, especially in a local competition when it is in regards to health.
I have read all sorts of comical things over the years, none more so than my region's Champ of Champs Tournament last year where apparently a team of ladies won the doubles event after another team forfeited due to 'injury'. They missed one minor detail, it was the first match, the first set of the tournament. 
Anything could have happened after that and they still had to win two more matches, which they did to take the title. Yet the write up stated that the win was due to another team forfeiting, that was journalism at it's absolute worst, it was sensationalizing an 'injury' to take away from a victory. Happens all the time.
The latest is of no real surprise though as now days it's all about other things, acting, 'injury time outs', fake cramps, gamesmanship and egotistical behavior. Did I mention bad line calling and ugly parent syndrome in junior tennis tournaments ?
If a kid plays a tennis tournament then he or she is 'well' enough to take the court and if he or she wasn't then they would be tucked up in bed, end of story. I get a cortisone three times a year in my arm just to help me play, I don't tell anyone about it except some of you who read my site. If I lose because of it then that's too bad. Sometimes I don't hit the ball as hard as I would like due to my arm not being 100 per cent so I improvise, that comes with thinking things through.
If it's your coach telling the local newspaper journo 'Jonny just lost today on a count back but he wasn't feeling the best', then can I suggest something ?
Find a coach who isn't going to look for excuses for your losses and if you are going to keep that same coach (or is that 'coach' in inverted commas) then can I also suggest something ? 
Tell him or her to not make excuses for you because really, deep down he or she is really making excuses for their lack of ability in teaching you what is right from wrong on a tennis court.....
Good Day
Regards Glenn

Tuesday, 24 February 2015


I was sent an email the other day by a Tennis Coach who unfortunately is just another in a long line of Tennis Coaches who's programs disappeared under the weight of the 'hype storm'. Do you remember the Stock Market 'Tech Wreck' of the year 2000 ? I often wonder if the new style of tennis coaching along with the glossy marketing will eventually give way to the substance style of years gone by or as some new gurus call it 'The Dinosaur era'.
It's interesting when you look at the way the game is taught now days with the soft balls and the modified courts along with new scoring systems (Fast 4) plus a new theory on a daily basis. Does it really own a spine or is it just marketing gone mad ? As always I have my own theories.
I used to tinker around with my own scoring systems, I constantly thought outside the square, I have always felt that the current tennis scoring system is dated. Tennis doesn't really reward the shot maker, it rewards the player who can stay out there for the longest. Players can't go out and start teeing off and expect to be able to sustain that type of play over 5 sets. It's why I love what they did with cricket, they finally rewarded the shot maker, the guy who  starts swinging right from the start in the new 20/20 concept, brilliant. 
Many of these players do not play Test Cricket or even 50 Over Cricket but they are specialists in the art of slogging the ball over the fence. This type of cricket to me is the most entertaining form of the game and it seems that with it's prime time viewing slot on television it is what the public want to see. Quite simply, it's something different, a novelty, a game that has entertainment value written all over it.
The current Fast 4 concept that even Federer and Nadal trialled in Australia in the lead up to the Australian Open is an interesting one but it's really just a shortened version of the real game. I would like to see a Super Tie Breaker Tournament, first to 10 points, best of 5 sets, a real modification of a tennis tournament and not just a token gesture. This type of concept would be even more exciting to watch if it were a 'Skins' type of event with $$$ changing hands on each win or loss of a tie breaker. Food for thought. This type of tennis tournament is one for the shot makers, the entertainers, the Gael Monfils type of player, not for the fitness experts.
Soft tennis balls, perhaps they have their place in teaching despite my numerous negative comments on the whole idea but I think when you really look at it, well it's been going on since the beginning of time. What I mean by that is every coach has a basket of soft tennis balls, the ones that have been hit into oblivion by the better players. 
I always had two or three baskets of soft balls for beginners and the same amount of good tennis balls for the stronger players but I never purchased soft tennis balls. I simply went with nature, the process that softened tennis balls, call me old fashioned.
Modified tennis courts ? Half court tennis I commonly called it as did all of the old 'Dinosaurs' but now days it's all about purchasing smaller nets and stretching them out over a court, perhaps 4 courts on one so to speak. Personally I don't like the idea just as much as I don't like how soft tennis balls are now on the shopping list but I am a self confessed 'Dinosaur'. I like the idea of a kid starting with half court mini tennis and moving back as they become confident enough with their hitting and direction but on a real court with a real net.
I vividly recall that out of around 100 kids that we used to see on a weekly basis at my old club over 5 days per week we brought numerous students into the Senior Club on Saturday afternoons. In fact on one Club day we counted no less than 12 players under the age of 21 hitting against the senior players over the course of the afternoon. On 6 tennis courts that to me is a win of epic proportions. 
Fifty per cent of the sets made up involved kids or young adults who had been through our program and were enjoying weekly competition against the more experienced generation. A sure way to gain improvement from both generations.
So to my point, as always I do have one to each chapter. Yes it's true I do very little group coaching now days, I prefer the one on one as far as technique improvement is concerned but I have fond memories of some groups I used to teach. I don't know whether there was a mutual respect there or not but we used to be able to make the kids and parents see that the tennis club required the kids to keep playing and not just do a weekly squad and an occasional tournament. 
Club play on Saturdays was the session that showed the Club Committee that what we were doing had substance and wasn't just a money making exercise. What we were doing was the complete program, we were replenishing the stocks, refilling the empty shelves, we were looking after the club that was looking after us.
We folded as a program when we could not keep up with the constant advertising and weekly articles of others who also began a 'tennis in schools' program, the one that took the sport to the doorstep of Education. The tennis club was no longer the priority venue for learning. 
When you lose the majority of your beginners you lose your foundation, we lost our future Saturday afternoon players. Intermediate and Advanced students can only last so long, the beginners are a priority for a Club's future growth.
Being a 'Dinosaur' in tennis is not a bad thing, we still teach the game with the no frills methods, we still know how the game should be taught, we simply do it a lot quieter than the new breed of coach. 
We also see how things should be run but we are no longer asked for our opinions, we are 'outdated'. So to the guy who sent me an email regarding the above issues, hang in their champ and keep teaching the game, it needs you. 
Just like the 'Tech Wreck' from the 2000 Stock Market that weeded out the substance from the hype I am sure it's only a matter of time before the public wake up to what's going on. Patience Grasshopper......

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Donald Young IS just that, young compared to the 'old man' Ivo Karlovic but he was no match for the man who is beginning to make history in his twilight years. Karlovic comprehensively beat Young 6-3, 6-3 in the final at Delray Beach which had 'old' written all over the tournament. In fact if Leander Paes and Raven Claasen had hung onto their 3-0 lead in the third set super tie breaker against the Bryan Brothers it would have been a tournament for the ages, literally. 
Paes is an absolute doubles genius, the reigning Australian Open Mixed Doubles Champion (with Hingis, another 'old' player) and has won every Mens Doubles Grand Slam at least once. In fact if Paes had won the 2005 French Open Mixed Championship he would own the complete set of Mens and Mixed Grand Slam Doubles titles however he lost in the final of that year. Back to Karlovic.
Ivo is six feet eleven inches, a giant of tennis and many fellow pros I am sure would have been happier if he had taken up basketball, a sport most guys his height would have preferred. This is due largely to his serve, it is quite simply a bomb and one that his defeated opponent at Delray could not pick. Donald Young spoke of Karlovic's ball toss not changing yet his direction did, that's a talent without a doubt.
The big man from Croatia follows a rather talented list of both former and current professional tennis players from that Country who all own a huge delivery. The 2001 Wimbledon Champion Goran Ivanisevic is possibly the most famous of them all. 
Goran now coaches Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open Champion, another huge server. Why are these guys so tall and how do they hit the serve so big ? 
Cilic is 1.98 meters (6ft 6in), Ivanisevic is 1.93 (6ft 4in) and we all know how tall Karlovic is, 2.11m (6ft 11in) so let's put that into perspective. These three current and former professional tennis players own around six meters of height combined and have terrorized countless opponents with a serve sometimes known better as a missile. Goran served a career total of 10,183 aces, Karlovic has just over 9,000 to his name. That's a lot of free points.
The strength of the return against these types of players when you think about it has to be something super human, probably more so in the mind than anything else. As a returner you may get just one chance to break a serve of that capacity per set, only the best players can take that opportunity. 
Roger Federer has beaten Karlovic 13 out of 14 matches, the only loss being a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 victory by the big man from Croatia. Not a lot in it was there ?
Out of those 13 victories for Federer there have been no less than 13 tie breakers played and two of those victories were by the score of 7-6, 7-6. I wonder if Federer goes elsewhere mentally whilst receiving Karlovic's first few service games until he reaches the tie break then switches on. 
Would Roger go to the Bahamas perhaps or to his Swiss mansion over looking the lake while his opponent bangs down the unplayable bombs then returns in time to win the important points ? I would love to quiz the great man on his mind set when he plays big servers like Karlovic, there surely is an art to it.
Karlovic is the oldest man to win an ATP Tournament since Jimmy Connors won in Israel in 1989 and who famously donated his winners cheque of around $30,000 to the Israel Tennis Federation. Despite his much publicized on court antics Jimmy Connors was a tennis professional who gave back to tennis in many ways. 'Jimbo' was entertainment plus, he made people tune in to watch him whether they loved or hated him, he had that type of aura about him.
To still be competitive at age 37 and win a  professional tennis tournament shows just how much fight he had. Connors also famously made the semi finals of the US Open at age 39 and had New York in the palm of his hand for nearly two weeks with his on court antics and refusal to lose against the youth of the sport.
Speaking of 'old', former top 4 player James Blake just won the 'Legends' event at Delray Beach defeating Australian Mark Philippoussis in the final. This was Blake's first dip at the 'old boys' tour since retiring a year and a half ago. 
Just like the famous Spaniard Carlos Moya did when he first joined the Legends Tour it seems Blake may just be a cut above the rest, for now at least anyhow.
I love reading about the 'Old Boys' and how they are still swinging a racket, inspiring.........

Saturday, 21 February 2015


I have stated before that I am a big fan of names, in particular the names of sporting stars. I love the fact that there is a 'Tiger' in golf, a 'Rafa' in tennis and a 'Lightening' Bolt in sprinting. Their names are money in the bank right from the start of their careers. So what of the 'less fortunate' named stars ?
I mean no disrespect to those sporting stars who have names that are, well, not so marketable but perhaps their earning capacity may be slightly less than the rest. I have mentioned in an earlier chapter that  Australian tennis does in fact have a John Smith, sorry, John-Patrick Smith,  'Smithy' playing the circuit. 
Only the land of Oz could come up with a sporting star who goes by the name of John Smith, we are unique here Down Under. 'Smithy' just played singles and doubles in Delray Beach.
Now speaking of Delray, have a look at the last 4 left in the Mens singles Draw and tell me if you see a bit of a pattern here. Let's start with Adrian and Ivo in the top half followed by Donald and Bernard in the bottom half.
Ok Ivo is a name that could pass as a sports star but what of the others ?
Adrian is from France so why is he called Adrian ? Why isn't he called Jean-Pierre ? Donald is American and I suppose 'Don' for short is the usual way of saying his name as is 'Bernie' for short as the preferred way of saying Bernard.
Interesting isn't it the way we shorten names ?
Like the famous Irish/Australian Comedian Jimeoin once said. 'Someone asked if they could call me 'Jimmy' for short. I said sure but you aren't going to save a lot of time by doing so'.
So to Delray and some new names in the semi finals is a breath of fresh air for tennis and it's also a chance for a 'Don', a 'Bernie', an Adrian or an Ivo to get their name on the list of champions at a fantastic beach side tennis tournament. It makes a change from the 'usual suspects' such as Rafa, Novak, Roger and Andy.
It could be a tournament won by some 'house hold' names and by that I mean names of simple everyday people that aren't likened to the sporting elite. Personally I am hoping Bob and Mike win the doubles and either Donald or Bernie win the singles.
I do realize that the Bryan brothers have won every doubles tournament under the sun but isn't it just great that their parents called them those names ?? These two were destined to become bus drivers with those names but they have bucked the trend, in a big way.
It will be a win for the everyday man, the Postman, the garbage guy, the Insurance guru or the parcel delivery driver. This is at last a tournament that may just produce a champion who hasn't been blessed like the 'Tiger' or the 'Rafa'  but who own the necessary skills to still be respected.
We can't choose our own names, we have our folks to blame for that so let's embrace these 'ordinary' named stars if they do happen to get over the line this weekend. It's a win for the refrigerator mechanic and it's a win for the lawn mower man.
These everyday, 'commonly named' people weren't blessed with 'Rock Star' names but they work just as hard, perhaps for a few less dollars than a sporting star.......

Thursday, 19 February 2015


Parents, don’t tell me you’re all about ‘development’ for your child, when your biggest concern is ...“ Will my little Johnny be tired from training?, because he has a match this weekend! "
In fact, just last week I found out that a parent didn’t want to send her daughter to a fun kid’s clinic I was running, in case she would be tired for her tournament that weekend, might I mention the kid is 10 years of age. The sad thing is, is that kid desperately wanted to go.

If you are development minded and truly understand the journey, then you understand that learning new skills are the primary focus and not the matches or tournaments. That comes much later.
Sure, I won’t hold back to the fact that there are too many ‘over trained’ kids in academy and club programs. Coaches should realize that these are kids and NOT mini adults or athletes.
Too many programs are logging senseless hours, thinking that’s the way forward. A lot of these hours are coming from instruction of the parent, thinking 'the more the better’.

Also, coaches and parents, if you are using the ‘tired’ line as an excuse to why your kid didn’t perform well at this past weekend’s tournament', then that doesn’t do the kid’s mindset any good either.
Kids listen, they watch your example and they will use that to their advantage every time they under perform or lose.

Remember: The matches are the exams to see what skills you’ve learnt in the ‘classroom’. Winning and losing are simply part of the lessons, not the desired result or goal.
Stay the path, stick to what matters, and please, these are not mini-adults on a serious athletes program.
Development of a child should be fun, inspiring and challenging - not monotonous drills and trophy and points chasing.

Remember why your kid first started playing? It was for Fun, right?
- Allistair McCaw
Ok I am trying my best to understand Mr McCaw, this guy trains professional tennis players plus juniors. Not quite sure what this chapter is all about though. Mr McCaw says "there are too many over trained kids in academy and club programs". Ok so it doesn't matter about the desired result Mr McCaw? 'Winning and losing are simply part of the lessons' according to Mr McCaw. Righto I think I am with you Allistair.
 So Monotonous drills are not the way to go then ? And trophy and points chasing are also not the way to go either ? So just FUN then Mr McCaw ? 
Mr McCaw's opening line is saying that parents are too concerned about results as opposed to training, correct me if I am wrong. So if a parent is paying for their child to be coached it should just be fun without 'monotonous' drills and no direction towards tournaments or points chasing ?
I am doing my best Alistair to take all of this in yet it still confuses me, sorry Champ. 
Do you think Martina Hingis's parents would have looked at it all the same way as Mr McCaw and conceded success would simply happen 'much later' ? Martina won the French Open Junior Singles at age 12, against 16, 17, and 18 year old opponents. How much 'fun' was she having at age 10 Mr McCaw ? A 'hit and a giggle' ?
Parents paying good money for their child to be taught the game of tennis have a right to look at training sessions prior to a tournament and say 'thanks anyhow but Jonny (or Martina) needs to rest up'.
I have played since I was 12 or 13,(33 years) hit a lot of balls, met many coaches, coached many kids. Yes I am a 'nobody' but I can see that this latest chapter contradicts tennis teaching in general. Parents who pay good money would like to see some sort of improvement from $70 per hour for a lesson, not just 'fun'. 
If my kids were playing tennis at that price then do I have a right to ask for some results ? $70 per hour ?? Don't most people work for $25 per hour ?? So what about a clinic ? Perhaps $150 for a few days of 'fun' ? It's all relevant, it's not a cheap sport to learn. Twenty kids at $150 each is big bucks for 'a bit of fun'.
'Monotonous' drills are a proven way to instill technique into a kid's game, the ball is fed into the same spot, the kid plays the same shot over and over again. The kid improves and he or she becomes consistent. It's fun to get a ball over the net 25 times in a row, a necessity in tennis. 
Not everyone has Mr McCaw's earning capacity as he trains some high profile players and earns some pretty tidy sums in doing so, ( I assume ) so how does he work out all of the above and make sense of it ? 
I don't even rely on tennis coaching as a living anymore as it's too inconsistent with both parents and kids moving about as they see fit. Yet I almost sympathize with guys trying to make a living out of it, especially with Mr McCaw's 'theories'.
The game of tennis is already confusing enough, it doesn't need 'guru's' complicating it even more with things that really don't make a whole lot of sense. 
Mr McCaw got his nose put out of joint because a kid wasn't allowed to go to his clinic as her parents felt their child should put their energy into a tennis tournament instead. I think that's fair enough, good call.......
Good Day 
Regards GT

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Sometimes I wonder whether I am too blatantly open with my thoughts on tennis.  I have covered many, many issues regarding the sport that otherwise may have been swept under the carpet. 
Some information that I have received has in fact been from mates who I used to play juniors with, some I have researched on the net. I enjoy putting all of it on this site, it saves me bottling it up, that has it's pitfalls. When it is finally let out well, it can be rather ugly.
I recall once sending an email to a certain organization that among many other things detailed why I believed they were doing nothing but 'supporting an ego trip'. I am not quite sure whether I could've explained it any better as certain information printed in the media was in fact incorrect.
I think I referred to it as 'blatant lying' so I contacted the Editor and actually received some rather startling information.
Certain newspapers accept 'information' from the public when it comes to sporting results, they simply trust the person who has sent it in. It's obviously open to abuse as some articles have been known to stretch the truth just a little bit. 
I have documented in an earlier chapter the farcical story about some juniors 'making the semi's' of a big tournament which was taken from a member of the public. This article you may remember was the one where the juniors in fact made it to the semi finals of the 'first round losers event'.   This is known in tennis circles as a 'Consolation' event so it was a 'slight' stretch of the truth, sounded really impressive though. 
I received a letter back saying that 'junior tennis was being promoted and we do not feel there is an issue with this'. Interesting answer.
How about this, three years ago some 'bright spark' wrote that yours truly won the both the Mens A and B Grade in my local Championship, yep A and B. An impossibility, you can only play A OR B. Poor research or a misprint ?
This year I read in the very same newspaper that two siblings had performed well at a tennis tournament. The journalist spelled their surname wrong twice, on both occasions it was not even close to being correct. It wasn't just a letter out of place, it was a completely different name !  Poor research again or just plain poor journalism ? 
Did you hear about the Chinese newsreader who was sacked for pronouncing the Chinese President's name as 'Eleven' Jinping instead of Xi Jinping ?? Not quite sure how you pronounce Xi but it's definitely not 'Eleven' as the Romans do. Do you think she did her homework on how to pronounce it ?!
What about the now infamous American News 'Guru' Brian Williams who blatantly lied to the American public about a 2003 story involving himself in a US War helicopter in Iraq. What i am a little bemused at is why has it taken 12 years for this story to be redeemed ? How many other 'fictional' news items has Brian been involved in and should this guy get a job at Walt Disney instead ?
No doubt you have all seen ABC's Media Watch, outstanding program in the way that it exposes the Media for what it is much of the time, 'Glorified Sensationalism'. Well Media Watch covered a story in 2013 that was all about giving a company some publicity. 
It involved Cronulla Sharks Captain Ricky Stewart walking down a Sydney street in nothing more than a pair of  'Sportsbet' jocks. Apparently some money changed hands somewhere along the line as far as advertising was concerned but the supposed 'bet' that Ricky lost has been questioned. Did it really happen or was it just a publicity stunt ? 
I saw this type of thing happen locally in 'Sleepy Hollow' Albany WA where one 'attention starved' organization went on a publicity drive that had many fooled. Members of the public even posted Social Media comments praising the actions that I would call 'totally contrived'.
I refrained from posting a comment as I may have been tainted the 'bad guy', but anyone in the know knew exactly what it was all about, self promotion.
Here's another beefed up media story for you. After last year's AFL Grand Final I read a rather funny article regarding a 'wrongly' placed bet at the TAB, this is how it panned out, apparently.
A member of the public mistakenly placed a ten dollar bet on the 'first goal scorer' instead of the the 'Norm Smith Medal' winner. Now when this person apparently checked their TAB account the next day it had an extra 'two thousand dollars plus' in it. 
I knew this could not be correct as the first goal scorer was paying around $20 so the person would had to have placed a $100 bet on it to receive that kind of payout. A misprint perhaps or another story that was received without checking the legitimacy of it all ?
I usually have a point to most of my chapters, I think I have written around 270 so far, most involving my sport of choice, tennis, but sometimes I just go off on another tangent and make it up as I go along. This one could definitely be classified as just that but there is always a method to my madness.
The media side of my chosen sport is definitely an area which could be improved. I have read some farcical articles over the years which would be better suited in the fiction section of the library. Most of it is self promotion at it's very best with very little substance, nature of the sport I call it. 
Tennis is a sport which relies on it's clean cut image yet we still read about how good Novak Djokovic was even after he went on an a 'B Grade acting spree' in the Australian Open final against Murray. Certain media outlets praised Novak's 'mental edge' or 'mental strength'. 
C'mon you guys, write about the facts, don't just print a 'Walt Disney' version for the public to read over a coffee at brekky time. 'Aah Novak wins again, too mentally tough, must have been a good match by the score line, no controversy, now what's happening in the Football World'?!
Tell it how it is, don't forget the fine print and while you are at it please do myself and the public a huge favor. 
When you are not covering a story and simply relying on a 'trustworthy source', well, you may want to look just a little bit further before you print it.
Most importantly however, never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.........
Regards Glenn

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


There have been many instances of officialdom blunders, over umpiring, following the rule book to the absolute maximum and plain stupidity from people in a position of power. Here's a local story for you, a chapter from 'sleepy hollow' Albany Western Australia.
Now it's no secret that I really do like the Albany Open, a long stone's throw from the beach, a Tennis Club surrounded by peppy trees and an atmosphere unmatched by any other tournament in the region. The Emu Point Tennis Club courts back on to a caravan park opposite the ocean, visitors stop and watch the tennis, it's a nice vibe.
Now I have already discussed the Albany Open of 2015 in another chapter but here's some fine print for you.
The play on Saturday had just been completed, the Mens and Womens doubles titles were done and dusted for another year. It cost me $25 to play, $50 per team, it included lunch and an incentive to at least achieve a runner up finish to get your $25 back plus make $25. My partner and I went one better with a win, that gave us a $75 profit each after entry fee.
After I consumed a couple of beers I received a call from my mixed doubles partner who I in fact played with some seven years earlier in the same tournament. Funny thing was, she hadn't played since ! After several years of overseas traveling, a stint of marathon running and a new love for the game of squash, my mixed doubles partner was ready for another crack at tennis. I had convinced her to play after a phone call.
Now I make no apologies for saying that I do not enjoy mixed doubles but this year I thought, why not, let's see how we go. We don't have too many tournaments in this region for seniors so let's play the whole weekend. My  concern was fronting up the next day after 8 matches in the Mens event the day before with a few beers under the belt and two aching, aging legs.
The biggest concern however was my mixed doubles partner's form, she had none, it had left her seven years ago to be exact ! But she was keen to play, all she needed was a light hit. Now with darkness approaching and the courts empty my partner turned up just as the last of the members and competitors had packed up their racket bags.
I did the right thing and asked an 'official' if we could have a quick hit as my partner was severely lacking in that department. This was the answer I received. 'Well Glenn as neither of you are a member of the tennis club you are required to pay court hire'. Yep that was the answer.
So my $25 entry fee for the Mens doubles, my $25 for the mixed, plus my partner's fee for the following day wasn't enough 'court hire' to see us have a quick hit as darkness fell ?!  
No folks it wasn't, it was all to be done by the book, the book of 'Tennis Officialdom', the book of 'Tennis Decorum', the book of 'How to scrape every last dollar together for your Tennis Club'. Yes folks this was one of those book titles or was it all of the above ?
So I went to the wallet, grabbed another $10, this was added to what I had already paid, expensive day's tennis indeed. In fact I don't remember the last time I paid $35 to play tennis for a day, maybe a sign of the times ? Inflation ? So the next day I did the sums, as I always do, a runner up performance would get some of the 'court hire' back. 
But alas, it wasn't to be. We lost by a whisker, from memory we ended up on 44 games, the runners up who we beat in our second match finished on 44.5 and the winners on 44.85. Such is life but a good fun day, my partner was surprisingly competitive considering her long lay off.
So to the sums on the whole weekend; It cost me $60 to play, two beers at $5 each took it to $70 plus Gatorade for both days, possibly another $20. I won $100 for the Mens Doubles Title on Saturday so I reckon I made $10 for the weekend. 
Yes you are right, it's not about the money, that is simply a bonus, it's all about the participation and enjoyment, the chance to be a part of the 2015 Albany Open Tennis Tournament. 
Still waiting however for my receipt for the $10 'court hire' from Saturday night. Where did it really go ? To the Club Secretary or did it buy two beers over the bar at the Sportsman's Club that night ? We will never know.
So why aren't I a member of this tennis club or any other local club for that matter ? I think that may have been an old chapter or it could in fact be a new one, long story, another time.........

Sunday, 15 February 2015


Episode 37, 14 October 2013 

Over exposure doesn't pay

Press photographers are finding it more and more difficult to get paid work, with companies offering 'exposure' rather than money and people giving away images for free on the Internet.
And now to a theme that keeps recurring on this program: the difficulty of making a living out of journalism in the modern age.

Last month, Tennis Australia offered an exciting opportunity for sports photographers with this ad on .

Photographers: December Showdown

—, 6th September, 2013

Tennis Australia was looking for snappers to cover its December Showdown when some 2000 tennis players ** will face off in Melbourne for a coveted spot in the Australian Open.

**Correction: This should say that hundreds of players will compete in more than 2000 matches.

Applicants were warned they would need:

Previous experience and study in photography and ... a strong knowledge of tennis...

—, 6th September, 2013

They were also told they would have to have strong administration skills, exceptional attention to detail and flexibility with work hours.

To cap it all they were advised:

A key requirement of this role is that you own your own camera and equipment and have a portfolio of work, especially action shots that can be submitted with your application.

—, 6th September, 2013

All in all it was a lot of work. And not a job for amateurs.

But believe it or not, Tennis Australia was seeking volunteers.

As in: the photographers would not be paid; they would work for nothing.

All they would get is valuable experience!

Now, Tennis Australia pulls in more than $200 million a year in revenue and makes a profit. It has just raised the prize money for the Australian Open to $33 million, and it was trying to hire a junior PR Person for the same December showdown at $40,000 a year.

So it’s hardly surprising there was a storm of complaint on social media, where a special Facebook page was set up for the fight.

Tennis Australia, Pay Your Photographers

[John McEnroe]: Tennis Australia you cannot be serious!

— Facebook, Tennis Australia, Pay Your Photographers

The journalists’ union, the MEAA, also weighed in with a strongly-worded letter demanding the photographers be paid, whereupon Tennis Australia withdrew the ads.

But it seems it’s sticking with its plans .


Not quite sure what is going on with Australia and their female tennis players however it all seems a little bit 'fishy' to me. Ashleigh Barty was destined for success and had a magnificent game yet she has disappeared from the World Tennis radar. 
Personally I believe she was so much more entertaining to watch than Stosur and she had no fear, something Stosur has all sorts of issues with.
Now here is the Women's Top 10 Australian Rankings for you, note the names;
At Number 1 we have Sammy, at 2 we have Dellacqua followed by Gajdosova, then it gets interesting.
Ajla Tomljanovic is next at number 4, she was born in Croatia. Daria Gavrilova is at number 5, she is Russian. Anastasia Rodionova is a fellow Russian ranked number 6 followed by another 'true blue' Aussie Olivia Rogowska at number 7, born in fact in Australia. Just the name sends your thoughts elsewhere doesn't it ?
Now at number 8 in the Australian Female Tennis rankings we have Arina Rodionova, yet another Russian who is now playing under the banner of Australian Tennis Professional. Number 9 is Australia's greatest waste of a talent, Ashleigh Barty and Jessica Moore rounds off the Top 10 in this Country.
So I ask the obvious question. Are we producing female tennis players or importing them ?
You do the sums......

Friday, 13 February 2015


'Rehab'; Meaning- Rehabilitation- 'To restore to good health or usual life, To restore to good condition, To cause to be regarded again in a positive way, Reestablish esteem for, To restore the former rank'.
All of the above; The Free Dictionary of Farlex.
Fascinating isn't it what becomes of ex tennis players once they have reached their 'use by date'? Many lead a 'Rock Star' lifestyle until their wealth runs out, many buy a business, many venture into coaching but one thing is for certain, there are no guarantees of replicating success. 
There have been some amazing stories however of sports stars' offspring doing just as well as their famous parents. Jessica Korda won the 2012 Australian Women's Golf Open. Jessica Who ?? Her father is Petr Korda the 1998 Australian Open Men's Singles Tennis Champion, her mother Regina made it to World Number 25 in the Women's rankings. Is it in the genes ? 
The 'second' most famous Czech Tennis Professional on the planet would have to be Miloslav Mecir, former World Number 4 who made it to the semi's or better of all 4 Grand Slams. He famously lead eventual champion Stefan Edberg by two sets to love in the semi finals of Wimbledon in 1988 before finding a way to lose it. 
I have never seen so many passing shots hit in two sets on grass in my entire life but somehow the Swede managed to start guessing the right way and weathered the Czech storm.
Mecir's son is now ranked just outside the top 200 on the Men's Pro tour and qualified for the 2014 French Open Men's Singles Championship. Should we expect more from the son of a former legend of the game ? All in your perception. Is being part of the World's best 128 Male Tennis Professionals in the World's toughest Grand Slam considered a success ? I would call it just that.
As Miloslav Senior however would be the first to admit, it's one thing to make the main draw, it's another to actually make an impression. As good as Mecir Senior was in the 80's and as good as he no doubt would be as a coach of the sport it may just lay with the mind teaching.
Look at Ivan Lendl. Now from memory before he hooked up with Australian Legend Tony Roche Lendl was possibly zero from 6 Grand Slam finals, he just couldn't bring his best game to the Championship decider. Roche somehow managed to get inside Lendl's head and make him realize that his early round form was the sort of play he should bring to the last match of the tournament. 
Perhaps easy to say but some coaches just know how to get the best out of their players. Look at the way Lendl buried his demons of the past by not winning Wimbledon himself, his only major tournament failure, but by coaching Andy Murray to victory in 2013. Do you think that this was perhaps a 'rehabilitation' of sorts by Lendl who quit as Murray's coach not too long after that famous victory ? You do the sums. 
Lendl has all but disappeared from the Men's Pro Circuit once again after countless years in 'hibernation'. It was as though he personally knew he could get the title with Murray that he didn't quite manage himself. He just needed 'that' phone call from a qualified 'student', Murray was just that, a qualified player who needed a strategic mind to help him win.
My heros of the 70's and 80's Borg and Wilander do spasmodic teaching of the game with no huge victories to speak of though Wilander did spend time with former World Number 1, enigmatic Russian Marat Safin. By all reports Bjorn teaches juniors in Sweden, Mats teaches club level players in high profile Country Clubs in the US. 
I would love to have seen Borg teach a current player how to block out everything but the flight of the ball as he did himself including many McEnroe tantrums. There is an art to the 'bounce, hit' theory in tennis as opposed to the 'other end syndrome'.  
I would also love to have seen Wilander teach a base liner the art of coming in when the going got tough as he did, to shorten the points when the heart rate lifted. Both of these legends had a rather unique way of playing and finding a way to win, their combined 18 Grand Slam victories prove it.
It would be in the best interests of tennis for these two former champions to teach some current players however they both have other interests in life and kids of their own. Committing to professional students isn't their priority. 
So what of Becker and Djokovic, Edberg and Federer ?
Roger is looking to his idol for one last hurrah and Novak is looking to Becker for immortality however when you look at these two past champions they both are missing one tournament victory, The French Open.
If Either of these two former legends can take their 'students' to either a maiden victory in Paris in 2015 or another title as is the case with Federer then perhaps they may just follow Mr Lendl's path and retire forever from the sport of tennis.
I suppose it would be a case of mission accomplished..........

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


The latest ANZ Bank Sponsored campaign to promote the 'Tennis Australia Hot Shots' program has not been too well received it seems. In fact it was so badly received that it has been taken off air. The ads were basically saying that tennis was one of the only sports you can play as you enter the 'Twilight years' of your sporting career. Here's some statistics courtesy of the 'Australian Masters Games General Manager Nic Mercer;
Tennis is the THIRTEENTH MOST POPULAR sport in the Event to be played later in the year for competitors aged from 30 to 75. Interesting stuff hey ? Now I am not a fan of Tennis Australia, their 'Hot Shots' program or their way of teaching tennis in this Country. So I am not the least bit surprised that they didn't do their research on their latest attempt to gain popularity. 
Apparently team sports such as Basketball are way more popular with the 'oldies' than tennis is. ( Basketball is THREE times more popular according to Nic)
The following is a comment left under the article by someone who also wasn't thrilled with the campaign.

I played tennis well into my 30's until I tired of being surrounded by players mimicking 'stars' with prima donna behaviour.  Professional tennis players are the most pampered, precious, prima donna's in sport. Why would any parent encourage their child  to play this most selfish sport when they see this behaviour.  Stick to TEAM sports where your child will learn far more social skills to equip them better for life's experiences.

I hope 'Wayne' doesn't mind me relaying his comment that he left under the article written in The Herald Sun yesterday. I think it has merit....
As much as I like tennis and write about it regularly, let's not make it out to be something that it is not. It will only alienate the game more for people such as Wayne.....


If you have read any of my last few chapters you will see that I am not too popular with some people who simply don't like either who I am or what I do, or both. Personally i don't lose any sleep over comments I receive, in fact it drives me to do more research on the game, to write an even more eye opening chapter next time around.
When I wrote about my early days in tennis as a kid learning the game in Albany, Western Australia I talked about not liking the tennis scene as I believed it was egotistical and ugly, I still do. I suppose that's why I touch on the controversial side of the game now days with many chapters. 
I like the public to read about the darker side of the game, the ugly, non glamorous side to tennis that at times does not get published for one reason or another.
When I played competitively in Queensland in the mid to late eighties I met some fantastic people, some great players, some egotists, some complete arseholes and some absolute legends. I once played a Challenger event at The Frawley Tennis Center and met Australian Tennis Legend Rod Frawley, the owner of the facility. 
He gave me around 30 minutes of his time as i am sure I was one of the only guys who even recognized him ! I believe he was flattered that someone was interested in his career. 
He told me about his Wimbledon semi appearance in 1981 against McEnroe and his tight 4 set loss to Borg a year earlier where he still sounded disappointed with the loss. I vividly recall Frawley's analysis on the match where he won the second set in a tie break and pushed the 5 time Champion to 7-5 in the fourth. 
Speaking to guys like that was inspiring. The match wasn't front page news from memory but it was to me when I received the analysis of it around 7 years later. Talking to a man who was beaten by my inspiration to play the game as a kid was nothing short of fascinating. 
I remember in that same tournament I lost easily in the second round of qualification to Chris Fancutt, brother of Australian Charlie Fancutt who famously upset Ivan Lendl at Wimbledon in 1981. Chris never made it past the Challenger Circuit except for a brief stint from memory in a Wimbledon lead up tournament. 
He rather unfortunately drew Stefan Edberg in the first round and received a tennis lesson but his experience of playing a Wimbledon Champion would no doubt have been priceless.
That particular event in Queensland was one that I will never forget as far as the experience was concerned. Playing and talking to guys who were knocking on the door of the Professional Circuit was something that you can't explain to young kids and do it enough justice. They have to experience it themselves. I remember the huge leap in intensity from juniors to that form of playing was both intimidating and educational.
I knocked around with some guys who I kept in touch with over the years and they would relay stories of players who used to go through our training facility in Brisbane, Coops. The most famous of them all was of course the great Pat Rafter who was the weakest, shortest player at the facility yet he had one goal in mind and that was to beat the 40 or so players ahead of him at Coops.
When Rafter lost to Agassi in the fourth round of the Australian Open in 1995 a story was relayed back that Rafter hit the town that night with a mate or two who were still playing the Challenger events. Word has it that when he made a withdrawal from his bank account the balance slip showed that he had around $700,000 in it ! Well earned Pat.
Meeting and playing against guys who were on the lower tier Challenger Circuit was always enlightening as sometimes at the local pub ( back then players still had a life ) after a day on court you would hear some amazing stories. We were often told of who was seeing who in the Tennis World, players talked, stories were relayed throughout tennis circles, even though they were perhaps supposed to be kept discreet. 
Players of all levels would talk about experiences either personal or from their mates such as Pat Rafter who left a lot of good mates behind as far as success was concerned but he did not forget them in other areas of life. 
That was the thing about tennis. Just because a player made the big time he wouldn't forget his buddies who were still scratching around for a living. By all reports Pat Rafter never forgot who he grew up with on a tennis court.
So to the moral of this story; I have had an awful lot of fun with the Serena Williams 'incident' or as one bright spark called it 'Samantha Williams', it takes all sorts. Just because you don't read about a certain 'incident' well it doesn't mean it didn't happen. 
I would like to think that if I do write something that perhaps isn't Front Page News in the Media, the source at which I received it is at least legitimate.
If you don't like what I write then please feel free to look at the many other sites available on Google.......

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Court Talk commented on your post.
Court Talk
February 11 at 10:15am
Thank you for the question... We at court talk understand Serena did in fact throw her hopman cup runner up plate into the bin at Perth Arena after the final. An unsavoury act by a sports woman many look up to...

So there you go, that's the latest from Western Australia's Number 1 Tennis Talk Back Show. Make sure you tune in to 91.3 FM each Sunday morning from 8 am to get the FACTS on tennis.
Not the 'Walt Disney' view but the FACTS....... 

 'Chapters you have written stating Samantha Williams had thrown a prize into a rubbish bin is quite simply ludicrous and I can't image how you would think anyone actually believes you could possibly know that this took place? I do not recall seeing or hearing anything in the press regarding such an incident, so it is rather hard to believe you would have any knowledge of such a bizarre event ever taking place. I'm sure Miss Williams would be quite unimpressed to know such whimsical things were being said of her. So if you would explain why you continue to comment on famous players as if you know them personally and are qualified to make inexplicable criticisms of them, I would be very appreciative'...........

The above is part of an 'epic' that I received from an 'ugly parent' who knows nothing about tennis, hence the 'Samantha Williams' comment. This person is the one who I commented on in one of my most recent chapters. The 'Samantha Williams' incident is alive and well as I know people in the Industry who witnessed it.
I am looking forward to an apology from you whenever you are ready to eat your 'humble pie'........
Regards GT ( The bloke who apparently makes up stories for the sake of it)


Did any of you see 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves' starring Kevin Costner ? Great movie, one for the archives of all time great action flicks. Do you recall the ending where in the last 5 minutes of the movie the great Sean Connery makes a cameo appearance ? Fancy waiting that long to put him in to that classic movie, he surely deserved a bigger part. 
Well this chapter dares to go where no one has dared to go before, the 'Tennis Coach Cameo Appearance'. The one where the 'Zen Master', the 'Tennis Coach from Heaven', the 'Supercoach', or the 'Groundstroke Guru' finally gets around to hitting a ball to the students who have paid top dollar for their 'wizardry'.
There have been many examples of the 'cameo tennis coach appearance' but none quite as comical as a story I was given by someone living in the City. No this story is one for the ages, factual without a tinge of fiction, a laughable situation that unfortunately occurs all too often.
A Tennis Club in a certain Capital City a little while back was asking for coaches to put forward their best argument as to why they should be considered 'Club Coach'. Now when a tennis club asks for someone to be the coach, well that's what in fact should happen, the coach should be there to do the job. Not so apparently.
You see what the tennis club in fact was after was a 'name', not someone to do a great job teaching the art of tennis but a NAME. They were in fact seeking someone who would make the public go weak at the knees on arrival, like a Rock Star arriving at a press conference. 
The player in question was once a high profile player who on retirement took up coaching. Whilst they had received coaching themselves they were in fact relatively new to the art of teaching the game.
So to cut a long story short the club did what everyone thought they would do and they hired the 'Rock Star' as resident Club Coach.
So is there anything wrong with this sort of 'Business sense' from a tennis club looking to become successful with membership or student numbers ? 
Absolutely not, it's how to create publicity for sporting clubs, names are always good for business. But what about blatantly lying to the public in regards to the 'availability' of this new 'Wonder Coach' ? Surely that is an injustice to every student who signs up for coaching ? Apparently not.
You see when these 'Zen Masters' sign up at a tennis club as Club Coach all that has to happen is that they make a 'cameo appearance' from time to time. 
For the other 99 per cent of the tennis season the students will in fact be coached by someone who has as many credentials as 'Willy Wonker' from the 'Chocolate Factory'. 
Now by all reports the ex player who has now become a coach spends around ONE week each term at the tennis club that they are now aligned to. Apparently they have Business dealings left, right and center that they have to manage both here, Interstate and abroad. 
One unsuccessful applicant spent many years on the Challenger Circuit and was a former State Number 1 player for the 16's age bracket. This Level 2 Tennis Coach has in fact had more than 20 years coaching experience than the higher profiled successful applicant. 
So what did the Tennis Club really receive when they signed up this new coach ? Nothing more than a week of publicity each school term along with an inexperienced assistant who is being paid way too much for what they actually know about tennis.
This 'farce' unfortunately is common but in the sport of tennis it is simply accepted by the public. There are many examples of tennis coaches advertising their services throughout the season who never see some students. 
An assistant will be placed at a venue and a handsome catch will be taken by the person using their name as the bait.
Even in a 60 minute session of say 20 students over three courts I would personally use a rotation system of roughly 17 minutes per court. Each group would see each assistant plus the 'Main Man'.
When you really look at it all it's up to the public to ask the question. 'Who am I really signing up as my coach when I pay my fees '? Should a reduced rate be offered for certain sessions or clinics if the person who is advertising it does not in fact do the coaching ?
You know my answer......

Saturday, 7 February 2015

'COURT TALK 91.3' (The Serena Williams incident)

Here is a program that I have a whole lot of respect for, in particular the announcers, Brett and Darren Patten, two gentlemen who know their tennis.
Today was a day where they dissected a few things, in particular the Hopman Cup and the Australian Open and they also touched on a subject that unfortunately has not got the publicity it deserved. 
The Serena Williams 'trophy in the bin incident' was brought up on 'Court Talk' today and it was stated that Serena Williams did in fact throw her runners up trophy in the bin at the conclusion of the Hopman Cup. 
Her on court surliness was matched by an off court show of bad sportsmanship by throwing her trophy away which unfortunately for her was witnessed by staff at the Cup. One of my previous chapters suggested that Serena is in fact a 'great winner' however when things aren't going right for her, well, she does tend to put on a less than exemplary performance , particularly with her attitude.
At the Australian Open she spoke of inspiring people. Personally she inspires me to change channels when she is playing.
A big thank you to Court Talk and the Patten boys for clearing the whole 'incident' up. I received a message from someone a few days ago on my site questioning the legitimacy of the incident and how dare I 'make such things up'.
Well 'Champ' this is for you, go to the Court Talk site and listen to today's broadcast on play back, it was brilliant. It even had a phone call from yours truly asking for their opinion on the Novak Djokovic 'acting' farce. They debated it and appreciated my call.
Court Talk 91.3, a fantastic Tennis Talk Back Radio Program which you can listen to every Sunday morning from 8 am. Love it.......


As mentioned earlier I will no longer be calling this site 'Tennis Technique', it is now titled as the above suggests. It is a 'View point' on the game, an opinion. Any complaints to the chapters that I write please feel free to send them to my email address.Regards GT

Friday, 6 February 2015


Now when one of my previous chapters was centered on 'acting skills' I felt obliged to write about someone who I vividly remember from World Tennis when I was a kid. This particular gentleman quite frankly was a talent of immense proportions who in fact went from Hollywood acting to professional tennis then back to acting. Some people are just quite simply rather talented in life.
Vince Van Patten was a child actor who starred in many US television shows including The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Boy plus the hugely successful movie 'Rock 'n' Roll High School'. He also played a part in one of the all time most successful US TV Series, Baywatch. Both of his brothers Nels and Jimmy were also successful actors who all followed in their Father's footsteps. 
Dick Van Patten has long been considered a US Television icon, his biggest claim to fame was playing a lead role in 'Eight Is Enough', an American live television audience show.
Switching from acting to tennis proved that Vince was a seriously talented individual and in 1979 he received an award from the Association of Tennis Professionals as 'Rookie of The Year'. 
Two years later he gained a ranking of 26 in the World and entered the Seiko Tournament in Tokyo. He received a draw that most would have looked at and booked an early flight home as a back up.
In round one he took on Australian Davis Cup hero John Fitzgerald and had a rather surprising straight sets win which earned him the right to play World Number 4 Jose-Luis Clerc of Argentina. Van Patten managed to scrape through the match 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 and set up a quarter final with American legend Vitas Gerulaitis , then ranked World number 7. 
Now Vitas had the game to bother a base liner as Van Patten was but after a one sided 6-0 belting by Gerulaitis, the 'bionic boy' somehow managed to find enough passing shots to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-3. These three victories against more credentialed opponents were nothing compared to a match up in the semi's against World Number 1 John McEnroe. 
Jonny Mac was famous for some quotes which stated at times that he was a far superior being than many of his fellow professionals. So what about playing a former actor ??
I am still searching the net for some dialogue but all I can find at this stage is "I can't believe I lost to Van Patten".
The rather outrageous straight sets win over McEnroe by Van Patten, 6-3, 7-5 was a huge surprise to most but by this stage the former actor was simply starting to believe that he belonged with the best of them. 
The final against top 20 player Australian Mark Edmondson was a match that I still remember watching as a kid, a match that went three sets.
Van Patten had a solid base line game with a brilliant two handed backhand and I vividly remember many passing shots that he hit against 1976 Australian Open Champion Edmondson. The 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory capped off an amazing run in Tokyo by a former actor who somehow also owned the amazing skills to beat the World's best in tennis.
When you own both the talent to play tennis at the highest level and also star in Hollywood movies your next pay cheque is guaranteed. His retirement from tennis in 1986 paved the way for him to renew his acting skills.
Vince Van Patten was a rare talent, a man who still has a starring role in Hollywood as he presents the World Poker Tour for Fox Sports. He has also been the host for Celebrity Tennis on US Television.
As a song from the 80's by Robert Palmer suggested 'Some guys have all the luck'...........

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


I just stumbled across a clip on You Tube that I felt I had to share to back up my insistence that Novak Djokovic did try some gamesmanship against Andy Murray. The 2015 Australian Open Men's Final will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and will leave a sour taste in the mouths of tennis purists for a long time. 
The following You Tube clip shows the rather 'B Grade' acting skills of Djokovic not just in the Australian Open final but also in a match against Del Potro where it is even more pronounced. I am beginning to believe that the Serb is a player who as well as being talented with a racket is also a player with a gift of being able to dictate through other means.
Tennis has always been a sport where the stronger mind prevails over talent. I often give examples of my old hero's, Borg, Wilander, etc and how they had an aura of invincibility about them in the 70's and 80's. They used to have a look about them that gave their opponents nothing in the way of ideas on how they were feeling physically or mentally. 
They were different from Connors and McEnroe who left it all out on the court but even the latter two players never resorted to injury acting. They knew they would be out there for a while so it was simply a matter of punching the time clock before and after the match and putting in a hard day's work in between.
Looking back on that era I would suspect that if an injury fake was made on court followed by a rather speedy recovery the locker room may have resembled something more like a boxing ring than a place to relax.
Andy Murray has done his best to down play the whole saga and credit to him for that, after all what can he say ? If he openly comes out with 'Novak faked an injury to change my mindset' well he may just bring the sport into disrepute just as Novak seems to have done with his actions. 
It will also look like sour grapes however Andy has openly admitted he was distracted by Novak so that in itself proves one thing.
Andy's mind is no where near of the caliber of the players ahead of him as you only have to count up their Grand Slam victories to see it. Roger, Rafa and Novak own a resume that look and sound more like an Around The World holiday diary than a tennis player's victory list. 'Called into New York, Paris, London and Oz, spent some time tasting the culture, got a 'post card' to prove it'.
Unfortunately for Murray he may just go down in history as a player who was the 'weaker' of a 'Famous Foursome' who dominated World Tennis for many, many years. Still, he has won two Slams, a fantastic achievement, he simply doesn't own anywhere near as many 'post cards' as the other three.
So back to the original head line, did Novak deliberately do some acting of sorts to put Murray off his game ? It will be the topic of conversation for a long time to come but please take a look at the following shared video from You Tube and make up your own mind. 
It looks damning for Novak without a doubt. My personal view is that the Serb Champ was in fact in trouble as his opponent's level was at it's peak and he was struggling for answers. If he had not given Andy anything else to think about then perhaps the match would have slipped away from him. I believe he tried something that is well within the rules of tennis but definitely not in the 'morally correct' book of tennis.
A brilliant tennis player is Novak but I am not a fan, too many other things overshadow his real talent. Give me a fighter any day but I am not interested in actors. I will go see a movie for one of those......