My apologies to Alanis Morissette for borrowing that line however I felt it necessary to use it to describe the decision to play a Davis Cup Tie here in Australia on a neutral surface. It is also rather amusing that the tie is being held at the 'Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club', on HARD COURT.
I have been saying for quite some time that Tennis Australia has owned no faith in it's players because it has not played a tie on a hard court surface for as long as I can remember. I won't go to the history books on this one though I am certain that the last time the Aussie tennis hierarchy showed any guts in choosing a neutral surface to play on may just have been in Adelaide in 2004. In that particular tie Sweden took the honours 4-1.
So why aren't all Davis Cup ties everywhere in the World played on the same neutral hard court surface ? Surely that would then prove that the clay court geniuses of the World could lay claim to being more than just a 'One-Trick Pony' if they were to win on something other than the dirt. Australia this week finally relied on nothing except the ability of their players which has been lacking for years in Davis Cup matches in this Country.
Playing tennis on a hard court is of course hard on the body but as far as a surface to develop a strong game on, well it's the first choice of most Pro Tennis players. I don't see too many Aussie tennis players developing a complete game on either grass or synthetic courts due to the obvious lack of tournaments played on those surfaces.
As far as clay is concerned, it is a surface that can build a tactical mind due to the nature of the slower pace though in the land of Oz it is not a surface that is looked upon as one to embrace as a national training surface by most budding pros due mainly to availability.
Every Country in the World owns a surface that they are comfortable playing tennis on and they host Davis Cup ties according to what they play most of their tennis on so it has always been rather confusing as to why in Australia it has always been grass as the 'preferred' surface. Has it simply been a tradition thing do you think ?
Nothing else could explain it because even though over the past few years with Tomic and Kyrgios at the top of the Australian tennis rankings and some reasonable results at Wimbledon it has not been a grass court that these two have developed their high rankings on. Both own a predominantly base line game, you don't develop that on anything except hard or clay courts.
Would it be because of the fact that Lleyton Hewitt has now retired ? Hewitt has always stated that grass was his favourite surface. No matter what the reason was for playing so many Davis Cup ties in Australia on a surface that was really not doing our players any favours I am glad that it has finally changed for the better as after all do we not play our home Grand Slam on a hard court ?
From the moment the Australian Open switched from the grass at Kooyong to the hard courts at Melbourne Park in 1988 it should have been a natural move to bury the past and start a new culture of hard court tennis Down Under. Yet it didn't.
No one trains on grass who has any clue on the sport because it is not something that will help a player become smarter. It is 'hit and miss' tennis because unless it is a grass court rolled and worn like Wimbledon in week two of their championships it will play low and inconsistent and it will beg for the points to be kept short. That's NOT how you win a tennis match on a hard or clay court unless you are a genius like Roger F.
So here we are back at Kooyong playing on a hard court, hoo-bloody-ray !! Perhaps this will be the start of a new culture in Aussie tennis that should have been happening consistently almost 30 years ago, better late than never ey ??