I wrote the following post Xmas eve afternoon after I heard a news report regarding the Davis Cup tie in Australia next year. I had a few beers in the late afternoon and I was told to never post a chapter after a drink, just in case it makes no sense.
Makes sense, though a lot of what I write could be likened to someone is constantly drunk. So the following chapter is one of those things that I find rather amusing about tennis in this country and when I find something amusing well quite simply I write about it.....
I always do a Christmas message on my site and this year is no different yet perhaps the content of this one may not be the regular 'To all out there who read my site.......etc, etc. Nope this one is dedicated to Tennis Australia who have given me a countless amount of things to write about over the past year or two, or is that three ? Time flies when you are having fun...
Many people call me cynical, many call me an idiot, it's all part of the fun of having an opinion on tennis. I wish more people would call me a genius so I could give up my day job however that may just be asking for a little too much.
All I will say is that as far as light entertainment is concerned well I love writing and I can usually knock up a chapter now days within half an hour as my typing has improved over the years. My mind does not need a first copy like we used to do before the real thing so I just go in the direction that my silly mind takes me. It's not easy being me.
So to my Christmas message and it was magnificent timing to say the least when I hopped into my car and headed to work at an ungodly hour this morning, call it 'sparrow's fart'. The news just came on and when I heard the sports report well it was like an early Xmas present, an unwrapping of a 'gift' a day before the main event. I went to work with a smile on my face, my workmates wondered what I had been doing. So this is it.
Tennis Australia will play the USA in a Davis Cup tie in March 2016 at the KOOYONG TENNIS CENTRE in Melbourne on a GRASS court. Yes that appears to be a fact and Lleyton Hewitt will make the decisions as far as the team line up is concerned as he has officially been announced as the Australian Davis Cup Captain. Goodo. So what's wrong with this and why am I cynical ?
Well it's all about Tennis Australia and what they have in fact done over the last 27 years that contradicts what it set out to do.
The Kooyong Tennis Centre was ageing and on it's last legs admittedly by the time it had staged it's final Australian Open on grass in 1987, the year Edberg beat Cash in five sets in the final. I remember that match as though it was yesterday where Cash took a while to get going yet lead 5-1 in the fourth set after losing the first two.
The biggest factor in that particular match was that Pat did not secure that set easily as he should have and it gave the Swede Edberg plenty of ideas going into the last set despite dropping the fourth 5-7. He broke Cash twice from 1-5 in the fourth and that has to give a player some food for thought. Pat Cash at 5-1 in the fourth had a hand on the trophy, such is life. Back to the facts and figures.
Kooyong was closed and the Australian Open moved away from the 'traditional' grass courts of the early tennis days in this country which saw the likes of Laver, Emerson, Hoad, Newcombe, Roach etc rule the turf not only in Australia but at Wimbledon.
The Aussies it is fair to say knew how to play on grass tennis courts because they could volley, a necessity to the craft of winning on a slick surface.
So once again let's look at the news headline, I do tend to get side tracked with stats. There was a reason apparently that Tennis Australia changed their national Grand Slam from grass to hard yet this is still not totally cut and dried. Was it a cost issue of maintaining the grass or was it because grass is not a surface that can possibly be expected to help a young player develop into an all round player ? Was it both of the above ?
I would say both personally but lean toward the latter as a hard court is an 'equalizer' in tennis. If you can develop a game on hard court then you are well on your way as that requires an almost 'complete' game to be successful on.
So if the grass court tradition was perhaps put aside in favour of a surface that would help Australia's up and comer's become competitive against the baseline robots of Europe why is it that Tennis Australia keep reverting back to grass ?
If a player works on his game in Australia throughout the year then he works on two surfaces, hard and clay, that's it but then he is made to play on grass if he gets selected for Davis Cup. Confusion ??
Surely with Kooyong being put to rest it was making a statement, this country was moving ahead in a different direction in regards to player development and style. The Pat Cash style of serve and volley was no longer the way of the future. Tough to win on hard and clay courts with serve and volley yet is a proven style on grass but how many grass court events are there now days ?
So here we are in 2015, nearly 2016 and even Lleyton Hewitt surely can see that Australia's Davis Cup players are more at home on a hard court than grass due mainly to the hours put in on a hard surface. Or has Lleyton been told by the hierarchy at TA that there is no choice but to play on grass for one reason or another ?
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall when these guys get together ? I would love to know the theory behind the one track mind as far as the Davis Cup playing surface in this country is concerned.
Sure there is an argument that a week's training on a surface will get a player grooved enough to be ready for battle but in the heat of a match where will a player's thought process be ? Doesn't a professional tennis player go to the 'well' where all of their training has been over many years when looking for an answer to the many questions an opponent asks.
What if they are looking for that crucial answer at that crucial time in a match yet the surface does not permit that type of play through lack of training on it ?
We could come up with a dozen or so examples but I am already writing a book, this site is just a brief 'point of view'.
No matter how you look at it all Tennis Australia are confused because they are trying to hold onto something from the past but at the same time trying to move ahead.
I guarantee you that the grass court idea for Davis Cup has nothing to do with the players, it is not their choice, it is handed to them by Tennis Australia and they are still obsessed with an old tradition.
Grass court tennis is a once a year event at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon and the smaller lead up tournaments to it. Apart from that how many players would use that surface to develop their game ? Do you think any ???
Merry Xmas to all, thanks for reading my site and to Tennis Australia thank you for handing me so much dialogue over the years.......