Wednesday, 11 February 2015


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.......

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