Saturday, 12 September 2015


If you have followed this site at all over the course of it's existence you will notice that I get my back up in regards to certain things said by certain gurus of the game. Nothing disappoints me more than when I am watching a broadcast of the sport and I hear things that really should have stayed back in a tennis bag somewhere.
Take for example the chapter I wrote in regards to Australian tennis legend John Newcombe and his take on certain players and their supposed weaknesses or even Nationality for that matter. I touched on the comment he made about Kyrgios's second round Wimbledon opponent Juan Monaco who is in fact from Argentina. Newk thought he looked like a 'fit Spaniard'. His right hand man Todd Woodbridge who does in fact know how to commentate had to correct him.
What about the comment in regards to Federer's magnificent backhand chip return which he actually missed a couple of that prompted Newk to say that it 'isn't a very good shot'. No reply from Todd on that one, he obviously found something to stuff in his mouth to stop him from laughing, well done Toddy.
There was also an instance of Newk commenting on the serve of Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert when he was playing Bernard Tomic in round two. Newk felt that the Frenchman's delivery needed work, pardon me if I can't remember his exact words however from memory it was about as complementary as his opinion on Federer's chip return. I find that totally absurd.
It doesn't matter if you look like a frog in a blender when you hit a tennis shot as long as it is technically sound and it has substance. If you look at the serve of a professional tennis player then you will notice the obvious, no two players own the same action. Herbert's is not as smooth as say Fed's but it is a magnificent and effective delivery and if you look at him hit it in slow motion it ticks all the right boxes.
Now Pierre just won the 2015 US Open Mens Doubles title with another Frenchman Nicolas Mahut and if you saw some of the highlights then you will see just how effective Herbert's serve is as well as the rest of his game. The issue I see from a guy like Newk is that he is not accepting the fact that tennis has changed somewhat since the days that he ruled the tennis courts of the World, styles are now completely different.
Have a look at Stefan Edberg's serve from the 80's, now there was an unconventional looking delivery that kicked like a mule and at times was a shot that went amiss due to the outrageous ball toss, not too dissimilar to Herbert's. In fact both serves own the type of ball toss associated with a huge kick and both hurt an opponent due to the extreme high bounce.
Wakey, wakey Newk, the times have changed.
If ever you have heard Newk and Todd commentate for the Wimbledon coverage you will notice two things, Todd is brilliant, Newk is not. Todd does not ever speak of a player's supposed technical deficiencies because he is aware of the fact that if a player is good enough to play main draw Grand Slam then he owns a great game whether he is ranked 1 or 128. Todd commentates on the match and what is happening, nothing else. Newk needs to take a leaf out of Todd's book.
As far as Herbert is concerned well he finished runner up at the Australian Open this year in the Mens Doubles with Mahut but he now owns a Grand Slam trophy, serving deficiency or not. Nicolas Mahut on the other side of the coin is a man who deserved a Slam as his loss in the final of the 2013 French Open Mens doubles was a heartbreaker. He and Llodra lost in a third set tiebreaker to the Bryan brothers and the photo of an inconsolable Mahut at the presentation was testimony to how disappointing that loss was to him in particular.
I am all for technical prowess as the original name of this site was Glenn Thompson Tennis Technique however due to a complaint I changed it. I believe in technical brilliance yet I also believe that if a shot has substance then it should not be changed, just refined.
Any tennis enthusiast will tell you the same thing if they own half an ounce of tennis intelligence. This game shouldn't be complicated to either teach, commentate on or even play for that matter if you do the sums on what works and what doesn't.
Newk should be just as aware as any tennis coach of the game that if it aint broke then you don't try to fix it......

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