Friday, 28 August 2015


In case you haven't heard the latest, Rafa did not want to play doubles with Nick K at a recent Nike promotion event, he asked to be paired up with someone else, that's if what you read is correct. The following clip is Nadal at around the same age as Nick is now, Wimbledon 2007.
The rather comical set of circumstances stem from Nadal being too busy with his own pedantic routine to even realize that his opponent went to pick up a new racket from his bag. Players do this with each ball change.
Rafa obviously did not appreciate the break in his routine so then he let Soderling know in his own little way, by showing him the new balls however when you watch it I would question the timing of it. It was gamesmanship for anyone who knows anything about tennis.
So my point is this. Rafa apparently did not appreciate Robin Soderling's apparent lack of respect for his pedantic routine. Yet if Rafa actually looked up to see what his opponent was doing rather than have his head clearly in his own little zone he would have seen that he didn't have anyone to serve to.
A player is quite within his rights to grab a new racket and quite often you will see a player do it perhaps a little late and then offer an apology to the opponent. It's usually accepted.
Rafa is a rather complex character and his routines are the things legends are made of but they sometimes can wear a little thin as he takes the full 25 seconds between points with usually not a lot to spare.
So this incident was not a verbal stoush like the Wawrinka/ Kyrgios one that gathered many headlines but it was one that was interesting to say the least. Rafa has obviously made it clear that he did not appreciate Nick's effort against Stan but Rafa has to remember that at around the same age he possessed some attributes that could have been tidied up also.
Some players need to rewind the clock and look at their own silly ways before passing judgement on others.....
Silly sport tennis......

soderling imite nadal

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


It's quite amusing to look back on the 'people' who I have upset with some of the content on this site as they are the 'people' who have always maintained that I lack any credibility whatsoever in tennis. These 'people' read this site regularly. Why ? I have no credibility so why would you read it ?
It's also interesting to note that the 'people' who I have upset all stem from one corner and one corner only of the game and the country. I won't go into the finer details.
I heard just recently that the majority of lawsuits now days stem from social media pages, no real surprise there and I suppose this site comes under that banner.
This site however is a little different in many ways when you think about it as it's not really craving the attention of a Facebook page that basically asks for feed back. If I get it well that's fine, if not I really couldn't give a fat rat's toss bag, I simply write to get things off my chest, plain and simple.
I have a look at other tennis sites, Facebook pages and the like just to see what is going on in other parts of the country in a sport that is full of egotistical and self absorbed ways. I find it more than interesting to see how others market and explain the game, call me nosey if you must.
I saw one just recently that belittled a student to such an extent that unless the parent is totally oblivious to common sense then I doubt the student will be spending much more time on court with this 'guru'. Once again I will refrain from details, I tend to upset certain 'people' when I go into the finer points of my information.
Unfortunately in the sport of tennis it can become a culture type of thing in certain areas of the country and some 'people' are glorified to such an extent that no matter what is said it is taken as gospel and 'bottled'. It is then opened when one is short of one's own common sense. It is that type of sport unfortunately, possibly never to change with the growth of Facebook 'gurus' who have never even stepped out of their own back yard yet command respect for some unknown reason.
I was always taught that in tennis you have to earn respect, by at least having a go, by putting your mind and body to the test, by walking, not just talking. There's a lot to the game of tennis and it requires a smart mind, not just a head that comes up with regular clich├ęs to make themselves sound as though they know what they are doing. Eventually a smart student or parent, even both will see through the bullsh.. and move on or give up the game entirely due to the amount of contradiction fed from someone trying to justify their existence.
I do firmly believe that what I said in some older chapters still has merit even though I was threatened with legal action for writing it. I stand by my arguments that have stemmed from me venturing from my own backyard and seeing the big wide world of tennis even though it was only for a 10 week tour of competition tennis in Europe.
I would recommend the idea to anyone, especially the 'coach' who knows 'everything' and who has watched the game from the stands and now knows the game so well they can command $80 an hour for saying they have conquered the tennis pinnacle.
Yep it's a funny sport tennis, run by 'people' who know every minor detail of the game who have gained 'credibility' through watching the sport on television and reading books. Let's not forget also that in our country especially we own a governing body that believes that Davis Cup should be played ONLY on grass, a surface that NO player practices on to refine any part of their game on a regular basis.
Argumentative bastard aren't I ? Wouldn't have it any other way.........

Sunday, 23 August 2015


So another title on the ATP tour is about to be contested by Fed and Novak, just for a change, this time in Cincinnati. If you did the sums on current form you would probably pick Roger to win this one as Novak has struggled all tournament just to get to the final. The thing about Novak however is that he usually finds a way to win no matter the opponent or the situation.
I do hope Roger wins this event as he is at the age where most players sit back and enjoy retirement but the Swiss genius seems far from satisfied with his achievements. No matter who wins this particular event it will be interesting to look at the statistics and just what the difference was in the end. There is usually a whisker in it as far as points for and against are concerned and there may just be an ounce of luck that separates a tie breaker win or a break of serve opportunity.
I love looking at tennis statistics, it puts the game into perspective. Most of the top players do not actually lose to an opponent, they are simply beaten by a better one that thinks their way through things just slightly more efficiently.
Roger I believe has never lost a tournament final, he was just beaten by a genius on the day.
This time I am not going to tip either way but I am hoping for a Federer victory, one for the 'old blokes'........

*** The straight sets win to Federer by the score of 7-6, 6-3 I suppose was not a real surprise as previously mentioned, Novak had struggled all tournament. Federer won 20 of 27 net approaches, that's 5 games alone won by coming to the net.
Roger also used the chip charge tactic to perfection which when you think about it, well it's rather obscene to be doing that to the World number one's serve. To stand well inside the baseline to receive serve, chip it ,then set up for a volley is a tactic that will bother any player.
Taking time away from a baseliner is something that should be looked at by players and coaches, it has more than an ounce of merit.
A 7-6, 6-3 win is a tight match yet a 7-1 tiebreaker score is a statement that you are not waiting for a mistake from the opposition, you are taking the game on. Roger knows he is not young enough to be playing from the baseline all day and he has found a unique style that affords him shorter points.
Not every player has the volleying ability of Fed but perhaps net rushing can still be looked at for future playing styles. At least it can break up the monotony of baseline tennis. It would be disappointing to see it cease when the Swiss genius finally hangs up the racket as baseline robots are a dime a dozen.
The 'old bloke' had a win which should give all the other old blokes some heart to hang around and keep the young blokes honest......

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Even though I am not a fan of Women's tennis I am a fan of kids like Belinda Bencic who at just 18 years of age can beat players of Serena Williams stature. Now I have made it rather clear that I can't stand anything about Serena as I believe she is a poor loser, unlike someone like say Roger Federer who takes it all in his stride.
The thing about Bencic who just won in Toronto against four top ten players including Serena is that she actually goes to the net other than just to shake hands. If you haven't seen any of the footage then I suggest you take a look at the last game in particular against Williams where she attacked rather than just wait for an error. In fact on one of the winning points she actually hit a drive volley off her backhand side from below the knees and followed it into the net.
This was all after she saw a 5-1 lead in the third set close to 5-4 and actually was receiving in the last game. That shows guts. If she had waited for something to happen then I am sure she would not have went on to win that match plus the following final against Halep.
Sure that match was handed to Bencic at 3-0 up in the third due to Halep retiring with heat exhaustion but Bencic had the better of the second set and perhaps should have won in straight. In the end she simply wore her more experienced opponent out, a rare feat.
I don't watch much women's tennis but I couldn't help but notice how an 18 year old beat the best in the World, that's outrageous. Despite my lack of respect for Williams I honestly feel that someone for a change took the tactical side of tennis up to Serena and didn't allow her to dictate.
I also liked the way that Bencic chipped some returns back rather than attempt to drive it like most players do when receiving. A mix up of tactics quite often can take even the best players out of their comfort zone.
I do not know what they are doing with their tennis in Switzerland but it seems that it's not just the men that can play tennis. Martina Hingis was without a doubt the best female player to come out of the land of cow bells and chocolate, she's still winning now even after retiring twice but at last there may be a new girl on the block.
Indoor courts maybe and all year round tennis ? Quite possibly, it seems to be working though whatever it is......

Monday, 17 August 2015


Remember back in the 70's and 80's when the likes of Jonny Mac, Jimbo Connors, Vitas Gerulaitis and Ilie 'Nasty' Nastase stole the limelight with their on court antics ? Well once those guys got too old to play the game became rather robotic and lacked personality. We then saw players such as Sampras rule the court with one thing in mind, victory, yet no real entertainment factor to go with it.
Now it seems the game is changing again.
Just this last week we saw Nick Kyrgios, the walking tennis billboard say almost the unimaginable about an opponent and the media outlets went berserk. A few days later Nick's Aussie mate Kokkinakis was involved in an altercation with American Ryan Harrison in the qualifying event at Cincinatti.
By all reports Ryan wanted to belt the Aussie due to some apparent words spoken on court during the match. Fair dinkum is feisty tennis actually on the way back again ?
Ernests Gulbis of Latvia rather bluntly said some time ago that he felt tennis and in particular tennis interviews had become a little lame with Fed, Novak and the like all saying perfect things all the time. He may have had a point.
Now apparently Nick K has said TOO much but when you really look at it all it really just typifies what tennis is. It's a boxing match just like the great Andre Agassi once said albeit around 60 or 70 feet from your opponent. How much sledging goes on during a boxing bout you reckon ey ??
Nope, I reckon that tennis is at last back on the radar, perhaps for all the wrong reasons according to some but at least it's back on. It went missing from the radar like something flying over the Bermuda Triangle many moons ago. It may have just been found once again and the Aussie boys can take a lot of the credit for it.
In Australia we have more than an ounce of arrogance about us when it comes to sport and guys like Pat Cash and Lleyton Hewitt can take a lot of the credit for that as far as tennis is concerned. There probably has been no better two examples of tennis arrogance like those two mentioned as they were in a class of their own.
Nick K is way more bad mouthed than his mate Thanasi but unfortunately for the latter he has been brought into it all due to his loud mouthed mate. In fact Thanasi is like a church mouse compared to Nick K. If you have read the transcript it seems that Ryan Harrison may have got a little upset simply due to the fact that the publicity lately has all been about the Aussies, he was missing out on all the fun. He's now into the toy box full of goodies as well.
Tennis is back, it's entertaining, it's feisty, it reminds me of the good old days when the sport owned some personalities and some good times rather than just the big pay cheques and the perfect post match interviews.
I for one am happy again.........

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Stanimal's Comeuppance..

This two minute clip tells the whole story.

A heated match with call controversies. A couple live wires at play, both with history of being on court snits. NK is starting to bug out just like all of us do when we feel we're getting tooled. SW is getting emotionally distracted and impatient with NK bugging out, just like all of us do when we have an opponent acting out.

Some times we let it go. Other times we do what SW did, which is bark out our dissatisfaction at our opponents behavior (long storied and ugly history of this in pro tennis btw)

I don't know about you, but when you stop play and publicly call out an already obviously agitated opponent, do you expect things to mellow out or escalate? Maybe the calling out helps your opponent see the errors in his ways and he chills. Maybe the calling out agitates him further and not being one to let anyone get over on him, he retaliates... with emphasis.

NK took the latter approach. Please spare me the Stan is a victim here bs. He gives as good as he gets out there  (just ask Mirka and RF who've been around him for years..he has never had a pleasant on ct disposition and has been getting in to it with opponents his whole career)

Obviously what NK said was way over the line and deserving of a fine and possibly more. I'm near certain if SW keeps his trap shut and doesn't provoke him, we're not talking about any of this.

When you provoke an obviously agitated person, whether on a tennis court or driving down the street, you're taking a huge risk...and you don't get to determine how they're gong to respond. Sometimes you'll get lucky and nothing will happen, sometimes you will get a raging lunatic and all bets are off. SW got lippy with an agitated NK and he got back a lot more than he bargained for. We all did.

Tennis has wanted a bad boy for a while now. Well, careful what you wish for. This kid is wildly talented, yet super volatile. Fasten your seat belts everyone. This is gonna be quite a ride these next few years..

Kids Today...Sheesh..

That piece was courtesy of a fellow by the name of Barry Buss who writes about tennis in the US. Not a bad view of it all......

Thursday, 13 August 2015


The way that Nick Kyrgios sledged reigning French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka was interesting to say the least. I am not going to jump on to the band wagon that condemns every possible move that Nick makes however I am a little surprised at the brutality of his latest offering.
To say that someone has 'banged' your girlfriend is a low act in itself but saying it with your back turned to them is not really that brave when you look at it. If you haven't seen the footage yet then I would suggest you take a look.
It reminds me of when a group of young lads drive past a police car and give them the middle finger salute, from underneath the dash board of course, no bravery whatsoever.
To get into a slanging match with an opponent shows that you lack the ability to win with your shots and mind strength. I don't remember the last time I witnessed a player winning regularly which involved sledging an opponent.
I have defended Nick's actions' in the past because I firmly believe he is still finding his way in life as well as on a tennis court but this is a tough thing to defend. I also do not believe that Lleyton Hewitt is the man to take Nick from a lad to a gentleman to be respected. Hewitt was one of the World's most arrogant tennis players whether you choose to agree with me or not. His history with on court altercations is living proof.
If a player needs to sledge then he lacks belief in what he has to offer with his game. On court sledging lacks heart and lacks intelligence. I wish Nick all the best with his new 'mentor' Mr Hewitt. Hopefully Lleyton will teach him to do the opposite of what he once did.........

Monday, 10 August 2015


Monday, 22 June 2015


Jimmy Connors once said "Experience is a great advantage. The problem is that when you get the experience , you're too damn old to do anything about it".
When I was a kid and invariably lost way more than I won my Dad would always say " Well it's all good experience". I didn't think that when I lost it was anything except poor form or lack of ability. I just wanted to win.
Playing against guys like Peter Trammachi and Andrew Kratzmann in Queensland when I was 17 years old was an experience I will never forget. Peter went on to become a World top 50 ranked doubles player and Andrew made it inside the top 15 for the same two on two format of the sport. 'Kratz' also made it all the way to the final of the 2000 Australian Open where he and his partner lost a marathon match in 5 sets.
I also vaguely remember hitting against Pat Rafter who was in another squad at the time but our squads would occasionally mix together for some variety. We all know what happened with Pat's tennis and the success he had.
The mindset I took with me to Europe was simple, I could match it with those guys, in fact I never lost to Kratz in any of our squad matches and I took several sets off Pete ( Nackers ) in many practice sessions.
Once again I apologise for comparing myself to any legend of the game but I couldn't help but think about Borg who had ten years off. I had only had a three year break due to finally joining the work force through lack of success at tennis so I thought the obvious thoughts.
"Righto Thommo you used to be up there with guys who now make a living out of the game, let's give this whole European idea a red hot go". Something like that anyhow. At the time that I travelled to Europe I believe Nackers and Kratz were just starting to have some wins on the Challenger Circuit so I thought that I was an outside chance of doing ok overseas. It may have been silly but unless you put faith in your own ability I guess it would be a total waste of time in trying anything like a European tournament circuit.
Tennis at any age is like riding a bike, it just depends on what age you are and what experience you have had as to how well you can ride that bike, so to speak. Having experience in tennis is something that is invaluable and it's a rare thing to find many teenagers now days winning against the more seasoned campaigners. 
I played several European players in 1991 who were older than me and it showed in their ability to work out my strengths and weaknesses by the end of a game or two. Some players took a set to do the same, they were generally the younger more inexperienced guys who were still learning. With experience and invariably 'older age' there was an ever increasing need for the fitness level of a player to be as high as his younger opponent.
I watched Pete play a much older clay court master who took three sets to get over the line but it was both enjoyable and fascinating to watch despite Pete's loss. Watching the court craft of the European was almost like being in a class room and being taught by a Professor of Sport.
I vividly recall Pete talking after the match about his opponent's physique and the way in which he compared both of his own legs and the European's was rather humorous. In a nutshell there was a big difference.
Experience in tennis is without a doubt what Jimmy Connors described it as, you definitely could have used it when you were younger but that's what makes the sport so unique. Some of the matches I witnessed and played in Europe all those years ago will go down in my memory bank as some of the greatest lessons I ever learned in tennis.

Sunday, 9 August 2015


A while ago I decided to get to work on my European memories of 1991 as best I could which in some ways has been surprisingly easy to remember. I am still trying to piece together the exact tournament and travel path that Pete, Brett and myself used way back then which has been a challenge but I am getting there.
I firmly believe that tennis is a sport that needs credibility in many ways and there is no better way to teach a student of the game than to share some ideas that I believe have merit. Tennis however is a sport with many perceptions and every 'coach' has his or her own way of doing things, each to their own.
I am sticking with my perception that this sport is not one that should be taken lightly by any budding young player or any parent of a player showing potential. Reality should be the number one thing considered when looking at putting all your eggs into one basket, so to speak.
If any player should be under any illusions as to how tough tennis can be then I would suggest a European visit and a look at some tournaments either as a spectator or a player, or both. It may just help to place things on a shelf inside the mind that can be accessed at times when playing competition.
The three years I had off the game from age 18 to 21 did not help my cause but I played a hell of a lot of tennis from age 12 to 18 so you usually have an idea of your own ability by then. I believe that I was under no illusions going into that trip in '91 as a 21 year old but I suppose I just wanted to finally give myself the ultimate test as a 'tennis player'.
If you never test yourself then you will never have an understanding of who you are as a player. My book will one day be written but until then I will keep posting my thoughts on tennis. Thank you for reading.
Regards GT

Friday, 7 August 2015


In 2010 Spaniard Albert Montanes was ranked a career high 22 in the World in singles but has now dropped to 106. He still makes a handy living though. At the Kitzbuhel tournament currently being played in Austria Albert was part of a series of circumstances that lead to him making the quarter finals of the main draw. He didn't however start in the main draw.
Albert played the qualifying event as his ranking was not high enough and he won his first round match 6-0, 6-0 against a Swiss player by the name of Jannis Liniger who is currently ranked 824. The Spaniard's second round match was against Victor Hanescu of Romania who has been as high as World number 26 in 2009. Montanes won this encounter 3 and 2.
The final qualifying match in Austria was against Kenny De Schepper of France currently ranked 144 in singles, a winnable match you would think for Montanes. Things though didn't go according to ranking and the man ranked 38 places below his more fancied opponent came away with a hard fought 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 win. The victory put him into the main draw and Montanes out of it, briefly anyhow.
The beauty of tennis is that it can give players a second chance whether it be through injury or other reasons but there are usually 'lucky losers' in most tournaments. If a player loses in the qualifying event they can still receive a spot in the main draw if a player does not show and luckily for Albert his name came up trumps in Austria.
The funny thing about his lucky loser's position in the draw was that it actually became a better position to be placed in than the player who beat him in the last round of qualifying. De Schepper lost first round of the main draw easily to fellow Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 2 and 2 who is now into the semi finals. Albert received a fairly decent first round match up against Melzer of Austria ranked 166 and won in two tight sets then won easily against Schwartzman 1 and 3.
The quarter final match for Montanes saw him take on number 1 seed Dominic Thiem of Austria who sits at World number 21 currently, a player on the rise. After a close first set which saw a tie break win to Thiem the Spaniard retired injured at 2-3 down in the second set. For his part in the rather fortunate entry into the main event Albert picks up around $12,000 Euros which was not even on his radar 4 days earlier.
I wonder what these guys do when they pick up a bonus like that and do they go out and have a spend up on some 'bonus cash' or do they simply put it into their rather lavish bank accounts ? Albert has won over five and a half million dollars in prize money in his career but 'only' one hundred grand so far this year.
At almost 35 years of age I would suspect Mr Montanes would be banking every cent he can as his playing days are almost numbered.
His spending days will be plentiful in the near future I would imagine.....

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


At Wimbledon this year Australian Tennis Professional Marinko Matosevic lost in the first round to Liam Broady who is currently ranked 182 in the World. For that loss to a local which drove the English spectators into a frenzy Marinko picked up just shy of thirty thousand English pounds, that's not a bad day's work in any man's language.
In the lead up to Wimbledon the Aussie who doesn't really own a real Aussie name lost in the first round of qualifying at Nottingham to Greg Zemlja who at the time was ranked 297. Prior to that he lost in the first round at the Topshelf Open in the Netherlands to Pospisil but picked up five thousand euros and he also lost in the opening round of the French Open to Bellucci. That draw in Paris was a real tough one but picking up twenty seven thousand euros would perhaps ease the pain of an early loss.
In May in Geneva another first round loss netted him four thousand euros and in Portugal a few weeks earlier he didn't trouble his opponent too much either but pocketed another four thousand euros. In fact in April this year Marinko picked up over sixteen thousand euros in three straight first round tournament losses, Houston and Barcelona being two more tournaments he contested. 
At Indian Wells in the US in March Matosevic picked up another ten thousand US dollars for another first round loss, this time to the Frenchman Roger-Vasselin who at the time owned a ranking of 145. In February Marinko faired much better in Mexico as he lost in the round of 16 to Ferrer and earned 18,000 euros for his efforts.
At Delray Beach in the same month Marinko beat Isner in the first round in a huge upset then managed only four games against Nishioka from Japan ranked 154, work than one out. He did pick up $8,000 US for that tournament, not bad for two matches. 
So to the figures; Throw in another couple of events that I won't bore you with the details of and Marinko has a singles win / loss ratio this year so far of 3-15, that's if the ATP site is correct. Now what does a player of Marinko's standard bank after that many losses as opposed to wins ? Try a cool $217,964 US dollars. I believe that the figure next to a professional tennis player's name is US Dollars, correct me if I am wrong. A large chunk of that actually came from winning a first round match at the Australian Open in January this year, $60,000.
So there you have it, you don't actually have to win regularly to make a living as a pro tennis player, Marinko Matosevic is living proof, he lives the dream though, big time. Some call him 'Mad Dog' in reference to his rather strange on and off court mannerisms which if you have had the pleasure to witness, well you will understand the nick name.
'Mad Dog' is living proof that you simply just have to win now and then and not consistently like Roger and Novak who's bank accounts dwarf Marinko's by a long way. He has however won just a tick under two million dollars which has seen him travel around the World more than a few times hitting tennis balls at some rather lavish venues.
The biggest factor that goes with the above information is the ranking factor that sees a player walk into the main draw of some events yet play qualifying in others.
All that really needs to happen is for a tennis professional to sneak inside the top 100 players in the World and stay there for as long as possible, that will guarantee a sizeable bank account.
Pretty simple really.........

Sunday, 2 August 2015


I had a great week last week hitting with a kid who I believe is a very talented young tennis player who typifies the young breed of tennis player now days. The biggest factor however I find with all these kids is their lack of knowledge on how to actually play tennis as opposed to their very refined hitting skills.
 Katelyn hits the ball beautifully off both sides and possesses a serve that had me envious of the easy nature of her action. I have not seen a kid of her age hit the ball that well for many years and I take my hat off to her coach who has worked on her superb technique.
The next step for Katelyn however has to be her on court decision making as you can only get away with a good technique for so long before opponents start testing factors beyond that. I have seen many tennis players who can hit the ball well but lack the ability to either construct a point or test their opponent beyond having a rally.
In saying that I do believe that you have to start somewhere just like you do when you first pick up a racket and hit against the wall. What's the first thing you do ? You hit it so it can come back to you, that in itself works the technique. When you get a little more refined with your shots you start moving the ball around, testing yourself, testing your mind, becoming adventurous.
So surely that's what should be on every students' agenda when it comes to tennis improvement but even more perhaps from the person teaching them the game. I wonder how many new students of the game are actually being taught how to play tennis as opposed to simply being taught how to hit a ball. The two should surely go hand in hand.
 The thing I enjoy most about hitting with new students of the sport is the challenge of putting ideas into the mind more so than actually breaking a shot down into 4 or 5 different parts that can become rather monotonous. Sometimes a session can be better spent with two tennis balls and structured point play rather than a basket of balls and a lecture on how much more I know about the game than a young kid.
I remember a session I once had in Perth when I thought I knew it all as a 15 year old, one of the greatest lessons I ever learned from a man who knew the game better than most. He taught me more how to play a point than how to hit a ball.
I wish young Katelyn all the best with her tennis and send her a big thank you for hitting the old bloke back into some form. A pleasure also to be hitting at my old local tennis club. I used to ride ten kilometres several times a week to hit there with as many opponents as I possibly could to gain some variety.
Tough sport tennis but can be made easier if we get taught how to play from the start rather than how to just hit it. Anyone can hit a tennis ball, not many can play tennis...........