Thursday, 26 November 2015

'SORRY'

My apologies, I have spent so much time writing this 'free to air' blog that I quite possibly have neglected what I have really been wanting to do, write a book. So whether I sell 3, 5 or less copies than that I am working on a few things.
Sure I will receive the usual comments from the usual suspects however I feel that this blog has been a good starting point but not the ending point of my silly mind.
The past 500 chapters have been a great 'practice session'. The next 500 are on paper.......
Thanks for your support......
Regards GT

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

'GOOD FUN'

A big thank you to my good buddy Brett Patten for inviting me onto his radio show, 'Court Talk' 91.3. Now that was an experience let me tell you. It's interesting when you are put in front of a microphone and asked some questions about a sport that you have played all your life because it's like tennis, you don't have a lot of time to think about a reply.
By all reports it went well and I didn't say anything that I shouldn't have. I do have a habit of upsetting people however this time around I think I am in the clear. It was fascinating to listen to a fellow by the name of Glenn Busby, an absolute champion of the sport and a man who teaches at the Kooyong Tennis Centre in Melbourne. 'Buzz' is 58 years of age.
The interesting thing to note about Buzz is his take on what he expects of his assistant coaches in regards to playing the game. In the interview he spoke of the need for all active coaches to actually play the game as much as they can as it helps with the thought process which can be relayed to students. Coaches who are regularly playing the game are constantly thinking through situations themselves which can ultimately benefit their students.
My question to Buzz was fairly straight forward however it was rather well received by both Brett and Buzz. It was in regards to the emphasis that is placed on actual point play in practice and decision making as opposed to 'aimless' hitting sessions with no structure. Buzz believes that it is THE most important aspect of the game.
For those of you interested in the interview the entire show is on SPORTS TALK 91.3 and it's rather simple to look up the Podcast of COURT TALK from NOV 22 and have a listen to the show. All previous shows can be replayed. As far as my radio debut was concerned, well it went as well as I could have hoped. BP is a legend at it but I was happy to simply fill in some gaps here and there. When you know a bit about the sport it isn't too difficult.
I would encourage all tennis coaches who are fit, willing, able and who can still hit a ball to show their students whenever and where ever they can that they know how to play the game as opposed to just talking about it. Buzz is a true indication that at 58 years of age it is never too late to reach your full potential ( he is currently ranked World Number 1 for over 50's ). He is also an inspiration to the students he teaches.
Great interview, great bloke, great radio program is Court Talk. Thanks Brett Patten for the opportunity to have a say, hope to do it again.......

Thursday, 19 November 2015

'MORE SUMS'

If you haven't already done the sums on the Tour Finals matches so far here are the facts and figures for you that I find rather remarkable to say the least. So far there has only been one three set match out of eight matches and that in itself defies logic when the top eight players all possess an outrageous talent to hit a tennis ball.
The total games for all of the winners so far equals 102 which is almost double all of the players who have lost their matches to date, 54 to be exact. So putting it in simple terms the average winning score so far in the Tour Finals is 6-3, 6-3. When you look at results such as Rafa destroying Stan 3 and 2 plus the Novak romp over Nishikori of 1 and 1 it is not only surprising but rather disturbing at the same time. Don't professional tennis players of the highest calibre live for taking on the best that there is to see just where they are at or is there more going on here than meets the eye ?
What usually happens at professional tennis tournaments ? The highest seeded players usually get a couple of rounds where they have easy wins before it starts to get tougher correct me if I am wrong yet this current tournament does not afford any player that luxury. So does this tournament really cater for every player with the physical and mental brutality of it or just for some of them ? You only have to look at some players in particular to work that one out.
Who is Thomas Berdych's coach ? How can a player with that much talent get smashed on a regular basis when he plays the big boys or is he living proof that the gap between the first 4 and the next is bigger than what most think ? Last year Thomas got hammered by Stan 1 and 1 in his first match and Novak beat him 2 and 2. Was he just there to make up the numbers ? What about this year then ?
Well Thomas won the first two games against Roger then only 4 more after that but he did win a set from Nishikori which leaves him high and dry again with no chance of making the semis. Thomas does not like to play anyone above him as his score lines show.
Thomas did win in Stockholm and China this year yet he did not beat a top ten player en route to victory in either of them so are some rankings perhaps not quite correct ? Well it's all to do with consistency I suppose and guys like Berdych don't have to win big tennis tournaments to gain a high ranking. The Czech lost in the round of 16 in three Slams this year but he did make the semis of the Australian Open in January. It was at that particular tournament that he was called a 'Flash Czech F...' by Murray's then girlfriend, now wife. I wonder if she was referring to his rather flash image that sees him make a few million each year yet capitulates when an ultimate test is presented to him in the form of a match with a proven champion. Perhaps I am being too hard on Thomas because he is a World class tennis player but he is not by any means a proven champion, there is a huge difference.
A player like David Ferrer however is a guy who is always up for a challenge against the big guys and very rarely gets hammered as his two scores so far prove. Sure he lost to Murray and Stan but he has nothing to bother anyone with except a very big heart and he pushed both of those players hard. In Quatar earlier this year he in fact beat Berdych in the final. My question is this; With what ? How on earth can Ferrer beat a player such as Berdych in the final of any tournament when he gives away power, height and all round ability to play tennis ? It's simple, he has a heart that Thomas can only dream of owning one day. If I had a choice of choosing a player's technique between those two players I would choose Berdych any day yet I would always pick Ferrer to win that match. His ticker is by far supreme.
Even if Ferrer had been on the other half of the draw in the current end of year Tour Finals he would have relished the opportunity to play Roger or Novak. He lost 5-7, 5-7 to Novak earlier this year in Miami and lost a tough four setter to Murray at the French. He has no fear and he always turns up mentally. He earned his spot in the current championship without a doubt.
The sport currently still sees the top players finding a way to win against guys who are not far behind them in ability yet a long way behind in the thinking department. In some ways it is a little predictable yet in other ways it is remarkable as it is such a tough sport to consistently dominate against players who are technically brilliant.
I hope the rest of the current tournament produces some less than predictable results but if the first two rounds are anything to go by well the semis will be fairly easy to tip. So am I game ??
Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray for the final four with an upset in the semis and it may just rest with a rejuvenated Rafa who is not far off where he was two years ago.
Would love to see Roger win it though and will stick with the great man........

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

'DON'T BLAME YOURSELF'

I have seen the highlights of the Novak/ Roger Tour Finals match which saw the great man from Switzerland halt Novak's unbeaten run of twenty something matches. It came as no surprise that Novak said he had an off day, Novak does that many times when he loses. But here's the thing.
Novak did not play another baseline 'robot' who keeps putting the ball right back into the slot for him so he can get himself into a rhythm. He actually played someone who is smart enough to mix up the play so he is always guessing as to what is coming next.
I have always stated that most coaches know how to volley yet they don't teach it to pupils for one reason or another as they simply teach the robotic style of play that sends boredom to a whole new level. No guts, no glory.
Novak blamed his own game for the loss to Roger yet he should be the first to admit that he hates playing someone who does not play a conventional style of game. I believe Roger has beaten Novak three times this year in a best of three sets match as it suits Rog to play over three as opposed to five. Novak wears all of his opponents out over five with few exceptions.
A fair player will admit defeat and admit to being out thought when he gets beaten by a better player on the day and I also believe guys like Novak should set an example to others. If you read the transcript of the press conference it hints of arrogance and little else. These two champions would not go to dinner together.
It is such a shame Roger is as old as he is, he can't play forever, he's almost 35, tough sport to keep getting up for physically at that age yet he aint leaving quietly. I love it when Roger beats Novak with artistry, like a chess player who has all the right moves at all the right times. Rushing a baseliner has merit and history will show that it pays dividends.
Learn a slice, learn a volley, learn a chip return, learn to be a little different. Mixing play up can beat the best baseliners. The robots of the game can be confused, it just takes someone who is willing to take the game on and not sit back and wait for something to happen........

Sunday, 1 November 2015

'GOOD BLOKE'

The following is a story from 'TENNIS WORLD USA' and is a remarkable show of sportsmanship from a veteran of the sport of tennis. Paul -Henri Mathieu is no real house hold name yet he is a man of substance. The tennis world needs more guys like him on tour looking after the future of the game....

Strange choice for Paul-Henri Mathieu. The Frenchman has decided to play the qualifications at the Masters 1000 Paris Bercy so that the organizers could give the wild-card for the main draw to Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Today Mathieu faces Albert Ramos Vinolas. Had he decided to play in the main draw, he would have gained 12.125 euros and would have earned 10 points. If he loses against Ramos, he will gain 1.370 and zero ATP Points.

He has won four singles titles; reached the semi finals of the 2005 Montreal Masters and achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 12 in April 2008. In 2005, he achieved his best result in an ATP Masters Series event, knocking out Andy Roddick on his way to the semi finals at Montreal.

2006 saw him reaching his best result at a Grand Slam tournament with the fourth round at the Australian Open. In May he peaked a career best ranking of no. 32. In the third round of the French Open, he lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in a gruelling encounter which lasted 4 hours and 53 minutes, but amazingly only saw 42 games played (Nadal won the match 5–7, 6–4, 6–4, 6–4, with the first set lasting 93 minutes and each of the following sets longer than an hour).


Paul Henri has won around $5.5 million US dollars in his time on the pro circuit and he is 33 years old, in the twilight of his career. He can see that it is not a necessity for him to play now days especially when a younger player can earn some much needed dollars and ranking points.
Stories like this are not mentioned enough in tennis as it's usually about Novak or Rodger winning a million here and there and living in a palace. It's not how most players live and not what most players earn yet the life of a tennis professional is glamourized to the extremes most of the time.
The Frenchman shows the tennis world that the human spirit is still alive and well, after all what's another $12,000 Euros when you are a millionaire five times over ey ?? Well done Champ......