Friday, 28 October 2016

'THANKS FOR TUNING IN'

As always I send out a big thank you to those who read this site and in particular for those of you who have taken the time to read my book 'Delusions of Grandeur'.
The book is dear to me as it retraces most of the steps that I have taken in tennis from a 12 year old kid to a 47 year old who still gets a kick out of playing occasionally but who focuses more time on teaching the game now days. 
Like the old adage goes, 'you are a long time retired', so I suppose I drained every ounce out of my ageing legs and played every local tournament I could while I was fit and willing. There's plenty of time to coach, not so much time to play, fact of life.
In case I have forgotten to say thanks to an old mate of mine I will do so now. To Pete Rundle who partnered me in the Albany Open Mens Doubles two years ago, thanks heaps mate as it was officially my last local tournament due to a buggered wrist and a knee that simply doesn't run fast enough anymore.
Legend Pete, thanks for 'carrying' me.
So to coaching, it's funny but I always preferred to play the game than coach but now that the body is no longer able to do what it used to it's a natural thing to focus more on tuition.  I can still run the young players around when we play points though as you find ways to outsmart your opponent as you age in tennis, you only get smarter in this sport, trust me.....
The Wheat belt coaching sessions are nothing short of inspiring as the breed of player in those small towns have a desire to hit a tennis ball that you don't see every day of the week, they quite simply love it and they remind me of the Tambellup kids of 2006.
My good mate and Albany Open partner of 2012 Dave Bignall and I taught a group of kids at the Tambellup Tennis Club that I swear were the best group of kids I have ever seen for two seasons. They hit balls to Dave and myself that you would swear were being hit by 16 year olds and they were just 11 and 12 years of age at the time. No fear....
Now that the body has resigned itself to just teaching the game I have been working on some tactical improvement sessions as the years have taught me one thing in particular, it's all very well to keep refining technique however that part of the game is useless unless you know how to put it into a match.
This season is a little different for me, I am no longer chasing a title, I am simply chasing the improvement in players from the regions that I am teaching the game in and I am focused on giving a player some ideas to help them think their way through a match.
My tournament play however over 35 years has put me in good stead to guide the youngsters and the 'experienced' tennis players through the difficult times in tennis and by that I simply mean the mind games that go with the sport.
Anyone can hit a tennis ball, very few actually know what to do with it, that's where us 'old blokes' fit in.
I look forward to seeing you on court this season, thanks for tuning in.......

Sunday, 23 October 2016

'WORK THIS OUT' ( YMER BROTHERS )

I have always been fond of Swedish tennis as most of you who read this site are well aware though there is a current tournament being played in Stockholm that has two rising Swedish stars defying all kinds of logic.
Two brothers by the name of Mikael and Elias Ymer have made it through to the final of the Mens Doubles event at age 18 and 20 though that's not the only thing that I find remarkable about these two players.
It has been well documented that the average age of a current successful male tennis pro is around 25-27 years of age but what I find so infectious about these two brothers is their rankings. They have a combined current World doubles ranking of over 2000.
Mikael actually does not own a current ranking in doubles though his career high is 1387 which he achieved last year. Elias is currently ranked 954 in Mens doubles so if you do the sums on all of that you should be smart enough to work out that these two really have no place in a World tour final yet they have already taken out teams that have made it inside the World top 20 and even higher.
How is that possible ? Heart. These two are playing in their home town tennis tournament and they are playing at a level that is in fact well above what their rankings suggest.
It reminds me of Rafa at 14 and 15 playing practice sets against his mentor Carlos Moya which did two things, it took Rafa to another level but it also made Moya a better player as he was well aware of a kid breathing down his neck. Does a World number 1 appreciate a teenager belting regular winners past him with almost an attitude that has arrogance written all over it ? It is well documented that Rafa and Carlos made each other better, despite their age and difference in experience.
Whether the Ymer brothers win the doubles event in Stockholm tonight is almost irrelevant, the fact that they are defying tennis logic by even winning a round let alone making it to the final is inspiring for any budding tennis professional.
For the record, Elias has earned just shy of 100 grand so far this year but Mikael, well, he has pocketed what most council rubbish truck drivers take home in a month, 4 grand. Maybe that's before tax.
Silly sport tennis, it keeps dishing up stories that keep guys like myself scratching their heads in bewilderment at just what makes sense and what doesn't. It's a sport that can defy logic or it can have us 'experts' saying things like 'yeah that was always going to happen'........

****** FOR THE RECORD******
The Swedish duo won the final against Pavic and Venus by the score of 6-1, 6-1 in 51 minutes. What planet were those two on do you think ??
Quite remarkably the Ymer brothers came back from 6-9 in the final set super tie breaker to win it 11-9 in the first round.
Splitting around 30,000 Euros may just pay for a few expenses for a couple of battlers who have earned what Federer probably has as loose change in his car glove box.
Swedish tennis hasn't had a lot to smile about in recent years, these two lads may just be the start of something special once again.....