Saturday, 13 June 2015

'TOUGH SPORT TENNIS'

Here's some statistics from a Challenger Event in Prague currently being played on clay. Some fascinating scores and information regarding certain players with apparent form and reputations. There are no certainties in the sport of tennis, this tournament proves it;
Joao Souza is ranked 70 in singles and was the number one seed in Prague yet he went out in the first round to a guy named H Podlipnik-Castillo who happens to have a current ranking of 208.
Castillo then lost his next match to J Kovlavic who is ranked 190 by a score of 4 and 3.
Castillo then lost to a player who used to be ranked top 50 Alberto Montanes, a man who has won over five mil in prize money.
The Prague Challenger also saw another Djokovic take the court, Djordje, ranked outside of the World's top 1500 players. He lost easily first round.
That was all in one half of the draw. The other is full of guys ranked around the 150 to 250 mark, all trying to gain enough points to further their ranking. Difficult to make an impression though when you have players like Montanes battling to get their ranking up again after injury or poor form.
Tough sport tennis, not for the faint hearted but definitely for the players who have plenty of zero's already at the end of their bank statements.
Having a back up is a necessity, nothing is guaranteed........

Friday, 12 June 2015

'VERY TRUE MAGNUS'

The following article from Magnus Norman, coach of Stan Wawrinka is very correct. This sort of thing in the Tennis World is common, coaches taking credit for another coach's hard work.
I once spent over five years with a student and within a few months of them leaving my program they made a State squad. The new coach took all the credit. Uneducated tennis coaches are famous for this type of thing.
I have since spoken to that player and I was in fact thanked for the work I put in. The following article is a ripper Magnus, well written. He doesn't have his head stuck up his own bum like many......

Reflections from Magnus after French Open

June 10, 2015

Right after the matchpoint was won in Paris everything turned up side down and its like a proper circus starts that we cant really control. Everyone wants a piece of what just happened. Everyone wants a piece of Stan and also wants to hear my thoughts as a coach. There is journalists, photographers, family, friends and people from the industry that all wants to congratulate. Its an amazing feeling but after 2 weeks with intense work you are actually really exhausted mentally. Im happy i got 2 minutes alone with Stan in the hotel. Those moments together with your player after accomplishing something special together, are the moments your cheerish for the rest of your life.

Enough have been written about the final already. Stan did one of his best matches in his career. The third set was the best ive seen him play. To be able to do so in a big final against the world number one is offcourse very impressive. Stan has something that is hard to teach. He IS a champion. He HAS a champions mentality when he is on and confident.

Many ex players, coaches and players have come up to me and congratulated us to the win. Its something special to be recognised by people in the business. Novaks team was very generous after the match and credited Stan and our team. Very nicely done by him and his team. Roger called and congratulated. I know how much that means to Stan.

Mats Wilander wrote an article in Le Eqipe where he said that he believed that i was the best tenniscoach in the world. Amazing to hear from such a knowledgeable person as Mats. However i cant really accept that.

I think a lot more of the credit of a player doing well at a professional stages should go to the development coaches that has been working with the player in younger years. Coaches that has created the fundamentals of the player at a time when the spotlight is PERHAPS years away. Coaches that have been there early in the mornings, late at night and weekends doing all the hard work. I cant accept taking credit for that. The coaches that should have a majority of the credit after a win like that should be THOSE development coaches.

Have i done a good job with Stan? Yes im very proud of what we have achieved together over 2 years. But that would not have been possible without all the fundamental work that has already been made. The work that im doing is a continuation of whats already been done.

I am a partowner of the Good to Great Tennis Academy in Stockholm. We are focusing on player development from age 12 to 19-20 years old. I know how much work and effort it takes to produce good players with solid fundamentals from an early age. Take Elias Ymer as an example. I have been contributing to Elias career since he was 12 years old. Elias is now 19 years old and soon top 150 in the world. It has been an amazing ride and i have put countless hours on Elias without even beeing paid. I have done it first and foremost because i like him as a person and i like his family. Maybe Elias would have been where he is today without me. But maybe not. Today at 19 years of age, Elias has moved on and is training with an academy in Barcelona. I feel very good about this as i feel he is in good hands. I feel great about the set up that he has. To one day see him lift a big trophy would be amazing. If he does, i really hope that Elias and his coach will credit the work that was made when no one else was watching.

Next up for Stan is the very nice grass tournament at the Queens club in London. It will offcourse be a challenge to regroup our mindset to grass but i think we will be fine. Stan will play doubles with Grigor Dimitrov and we are really looking forward to that as well.

Thanks for supporting Stan and our team throughout good and maybe more important bad times. See you on the green grass!

Magnus

Sunday, 7 June 2015

'UNDER THE RADAR'

For the second year in a row at a major tournament Stan Wawrinka flies in to town, goes quietly about his business and leaves with a Grand Slam title. Stan's seeding of 8 at this year's French Open was exactly the same as the number put next to his name at the commencement of the 2014 Australian Open tournament which he also won.
The man from Switzerland with the most amazing one handed backhand you will ever see is a tennis professional who defies his ranking at times with his fearless hitting. Personally I gave him no chance against Djokovic as I felt that this year was Novak's year, he had served his time as runner up in Paris and was playing brilliant tennis.
He was however not counting on another 60 winners flowing from Stan's racket in the final just as Stan had done in his semi against Tsonga. That's a lot of winners hit in 8 sets of tennis to take the title. It would take some serious computer work to find a player who last hit 60 winners against Novak Djokovic, possibly the game's best retriever currently playing the game.
Stan also owns a very efficient service return and he won over 40 per cent of all returning points as well as 23 of 33 net points won. All of the statistics in this match mirror the win that Stan had against Nadal in 2014 at The Australian Open which also defied logic against a much more fancied opponent. In fact in just about every facet of this match Stan came out on top except for the unforced error count which was in favour of Novak who made 4 less at 41 to Stan's 45.
Novak Djokovic may never claim the title at Roland Garros just like the great Swede Bjorn Borg never won the US Open despite playing in four finals. Most great champions usually have one major they struggle to win and the French is one that Novak struggles with mentally more than anything else. That's perhaps because it's the only one he needs to complete the trophy cabinet and in that comes added pressure that can prevent a player from delivering their A game. Tennis is all in the head.
My apologies to Stan Wawrinka, the tennis professional from Switzerland who again flew in under the radar and took the title. I will give him more respect in the future when tipping players to win major championships.......

Friday, 5 June 2015

'JUST IN CASE'

The following chapter is an old one, but a goody, I wrote this one after the Albany Open Tennis Tournament where I was fortunate enough to have a win in the Mens dubs with Peter Rundle, legend he is.
Now it seems I may have upset someone at the Emu Point Tennis Club with the content of this particular chapter however I stand by the content of it and offer no apologies whatsoever. So to those of you who are not interested in the long drawn out version which is to follow, this is the shortened version.
I paid $25 to play the Albany Open Tennis Tournament at the Emu Point Tennis Club in January this year, worth every cent, great tournament. At the conclusion of the day's play I asked an official if I could please have 30 minutes practice with my mixed doubles partner as her and I were playing the next day. The official told me that I would have to pay court hire as I was not a member of the club, despite the fact that the courts were empty and it was nearly dark. I paid ten bucks.
My question is this; Has there ever been a more ridiculous request from a club official on the day of a tennis tournament where hundreds of dollars were pumped into a club with fees and sponsorship ?
So all of this has been reignited just recently as someone felt that it was a good idea to 'anonymously' send the following chapter to the Emu Point Tennis Club and it was then discussed by the committee, funny stuff indeed. So why has it taken this long then ? Isn't this site well known locally with the tennis fraternity for it's content that has seen me already threatened with legal action for speaking my mind ?
I used to see that many logon's onto this site from the locals that it was heading for an all time best seller as far as popularity was concerned, good or bad. So I am not quite sure why it took so long for someone to complain about this particular chapter as it was meant for public display right from the outset. All of the content on this site I stand by, I offer no apologies.
So to the 'bright spark' who thought they were breaking new ground by cutting, pasting and delivering to the Emu Point Tennis Club the chapter in question, well it's like this Champ. I don't hide behind any tennis club or association, I tell it how I see it and the way I saw that effort at the Albany Open, well I would call it 'weak as piss'. 
That kind of officialdom has no place in any local sporting competition and whether you like me or not personally I paid my fees for the day just like everybody else. Was there a cut off time for those fees ?? Who were we bothering just before dark when the courts were empty ? Were you trying to recoup some of the $100 winner's prize money which I received ??
No matter what your answer is I believe you have no place to ask a competitor for extra fees for the day in a situation like that. It's taking the tennis rule book to a level of incompetence that has now set a precedent locally. Imagine if a travelling player was asked to do the same ? I doubt they would be back the following year.
Tennis tournaments should be a day of good fun, good competition and hospitality from local club members, not strictly a money making exercise.
So will I put my entry in next January ? You betcha, I need to try and win my ten bucks back........
( The following chapter is the one that has upset some locals. Please feel free to send me your views on whether or not I was too harsh in my judgement, thank you )
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.........

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

'MANY TIMES'

I have written the idea on this site on many, many occasions regarding the high ball over the net which keeps the opponent pinned to the baseline, usually well beyond it. You only have to watch the French Open tennis highlights to realize that net skimming is only a na├»ve student's perception of how tennis should be played.
The loop on the ball hit by both Novak and Rafa in their semi final is proof that a high net clearance is not only a safe way of playing tennis but it is also a way to test your opponent.
At a young age kids can get away with heavy topspin without driving the ball because not too many kids own the ability to climb over a high ball.
It's not to say that a kid doesn't need to learn to flatten the ball out but while rallying it is almost a pointless exercise to keep driving the ball flat, for two reasons. One, it will take too much physical energy that will ultimately take it's toll mentally due to the fact that it does not take an opponent out of their comfort zone. Two, it is not safe play due to the lack of margin for error, simple.
Anyone who is learning the game needs variety of shot selection and watching the World's best players implementing just that is refreshing to say the least. Clay court tennis is of course a slower type of style however it is a surface that can develop a smart tennis player with time to think about tactics. Playing on clay develops a tennis brain that faster surfaces do not.
You only have to look at the way in which drop shots are hit regularly on clay as to how a player is looking at finishing the point rather than waiting 40 shots for their opponent to miss. Drop shots are hit when the opponent is deep in the court, obviously, that's where the heavy, high topspin ball has merit.
Anyone who is learning the game and does not own both the drive and the looped ball does not own enough variety to bother the better players. It is a proven fact that driving a tennis ball on every shot is a fallacy thought up by misinformed kids and uneducated tennis coaches who themselves lack variety of thought.
Tune in to this year's French Open and see for yourself..........

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

'SERVE AND RETURN'

The old adage 'you are only as good as your second serve' is as true as the sun will come up in the morning, there are too many statistics to back up the fact. If you take the time to scroll through some facts and figures of tennis matches rather than just read the scores then you will notice an alarming trend in the game.
Because many players use the first delivery as basically a 'free swing' it is often hit with such pace that unless a player guesses correctly the return will come back without a great deal of interest on it. That is of course unless the returner has an exceptional ability to get the serve back no matter what the speed of delivery is.
With ground strokes being as big as they are now days a mid court service return will be treated with no respect and more often than not hit for a winner or a commanding approach shot to set up an easy volley.
A tennis player who does not spend the time to practice the return of serve is like a cricket player going into bat without a helmet, it's called lack of preparation. Many players are not interested in service return practice because it's not one of the more glamorous training routines and it's frustrating. Yet it separates the good from the average.
I have mentioned before in an older chapter how a young Andre Agassi practiced his return of serve for his Davis Cup match against Boris Becker who owned possibly the World's biggest serve when he was at his peak. Agassi moved his team mates up to the service line to hit serves at him which gave him almost no time to respond, but it quickened his eye. Routines like that are proven, it's thinking outside of the square and it spices up the same old ho hum training drills.
The return of serve has seen some brilliant exponents, Andre Agassi could possibly have been the best because he took on guys like Becker, Sampras, McEnroe, Ivanisevic and Edberg. That was an era of servers who delivered the ball with unbelievable power and Andre Agassi knocked it straight back at them or past them, more often than not. It's why he won every Slam.
Fast forwarding to some statistics of this year's French Open it is blatantly obvious that the best returners are the most successful, particularly in doubles. It has to be precise as the net player is constantly moving. Keeping one eye on the guy at the net and the other on the ball is a tough assignment yet if you watch the top exponents of the two on two format it is made to look easy.
One of the teams I am tipping to win the Mens dubs in Paris this year Dodig and Melo just squeaked past Peya and Soares by the score of 6-3, 7-6 with the tie breaker going to 10-8. Here was the difference;
Dodig and Melo won just 12 of 46 returning points or 26 per cent but it was just enough to scrape over the line as their opponents won less, 9 of 42 or 21 per cent. The biggest difference it seems however is the lack of unforced errors in that pivotal second set, they made just ONE unforced error. I find that statistic totally outrageous.
Dodig and Melo won 71 per cent of their first service points but their second serve performance was even more brilliant, 89 per cent. That's not BIG serving, that's SMART serving. So is a kick serve more effective in doubles ? You do the sums on that one. Sometimes the slower higher kick is harder to get on top of as a returner particularly if the returner is not tall.
The above examples are just a few statistics from one set of the French open this year. Imagine if you did the sums on all matches according to the height and returning ability of all players and crunched the numbers.
I believe it would be fascinating to say the least, correct me if I am wrong. The best servers in the French Open are out, Isner, Querrey, Karlovic and Cilic, the best returners however are still in. There has got to be more merit in being a top returner than a top server.....
Just a theory........

Monday, 1 June 2015

'ON THE IMPROVE GT'

Things are looking up, my tipping is on the improve. As my second last chapter suggested my predictions for round 4 of the French Open were reasonably accurate.
I picked Fed in 4 sets, correct
Murray in 4 sets, correct.
Novak easy, correct.
Kei in 4 or 5 ?? Incorrect, Nishikori in straight but I did pick him to win against Gabashvili.
Ferrer ?? I simply can't pick this guy, I thought Cilic was on the improve.
Rafa for a win against Sock, correct.
Wawrinka over Simon , correct
I sat on the fence with the Tsonga, Berdych match.
As far as the Mens dubs are concerned well I am still going with the upset tonight, Rojer, Tecau over Pospisil and Sock who haven't been convincing thus far. I am looking at my two predicted teams to play off in one semi.
I am claiming 6 out of 8 for round 4 tipping in singles and 100 per cent in doubles so far.
I will look at the quarters a bit later today but no one will get near Novak....