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The current state of British tennis

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Aileen
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #300 on: February 11, 2012, 06:48 PM »
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Andy's argument was interesting. If all the coaches are teaching the same stuff, then duff coaches won't matter so much because they'll know what they're supposed to be doing and get on with it. He's talking about the basic grounding isn't he?  He also talked about the work ethic he encountered in Spain, which came as a huge shock. I think that's what's lacking here. No good dabbling in sport.
However, obviously French system isn't like that and they produce wonderful players.
Also, football is our national sport and, unlike in Spain and France, it seems to eclipse everything else. Perhaps because in this country there seems to be a class divide going on. Tennis= middle class and a bit elitist. Football= working class and open to everyone.
Golding has a court in his back garden, bit of an advantage I'd say. The Broady dad falls out with LTA has the dosh to send his kids to France.
I rest my case Shrug
Football is a national sport in Argentina, but that hasn't stopped them from producing some very good players.

It's the elitist image that the Murrays are trying to eradicate, and they do seem to be having some success.  For example Judy has managed to get the inhabitants of Glasgow's East End (apologies to members who live there - it isn't all bad!) interested in tennis by going round the schools and getting local clubs to link to them so's the youngsters can carry on playing once they leave school without having to pay membership fees.
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Philip
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #301 on: February 11, 2012, 07:50 PM »
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Very interesting.  I've heard Andy talk about this before - that there are too many foreign coaches teaching British kids and that, as a result, we don't have a tennis identity.  But the question has to be asked "How many good quality British coaches are there?"  Given that tennis in this country is still seen as minority sport, I'd say probably not many.  Maybe if awareness of tennis can be raised - which the Murrays are trying very hard to do, and, it seems, succeeding to some extent - then that might change, but I see it as a long term process, not a quick fix.

Have you got any ideas Philip?

I don't know how many good British coaches there are in Britain (Leon Smith). After a bit more thought, I think the reason for a national identity is to make sure consistent development of the player as he moves onward from one coach to the next.

However , I believe there are two aspects :  baseline/national identity,  and to develop what is unique to the player.  Each player has strengths and weaknesses and it is important to harness a player strength and overcome his main weaknesses.

For foundation, I would say the following are vital and must be taught to every tennis player to a certain standard.
1. Service
2. FH top spin/slice/flat (with Fed FH flat being the holy grail)
3. BH top spin/slice/flat (double handed for top spin/flat shots - more accurate / power) - out of top 4, Federer is the only player with single handed BH and it is his relative "weak" point as compared to the other 3.
4. Fitness training / endurance / power
5. Terrain - I would propose Grass (to prepare for Wimbledon) & Clay (to hone/perfect stroke & slide technique)
[ Last edit by Philip February 11, 2012, 07:53 PM ] IP Logged
Philip
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #302 on: February 11, 2012, 08:11 PM »
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2099787/Great-Britain-lead-Slovakia-2-1-Davis-Cup.html

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith continued to play down expectations despite watching his Great Britain team take a 2-1 lead over Slovakia in Glasgow on Saturday to move to within one rubber of victory.

Dan Evans' superb win over world number 65 Lukas Lacko in the opening rubber on Friday got the hosts off to a great start and, although James Ward lost to Martin Klizan, Britain edged ahead again when Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins beat Michal Mertinak and Filip Polasek 6-3 7-6 (7/4) 0-6 6-3.

A victory for either Ward against Lacko or Evans against Klizan on Sunday would seal a very impressive win for Smith's side without Andy Murray, who has been sending messages of support to the team from his training base in Florida.

But with both Slovakians ranked significantly higher than their opponents, the British captain knows the finish line is still a long way away.

The Scot said: 'You've got to look at our players against their players, and they're favourites. The rankings don't really lie, but the good thing is we've got two opportunities and we just need one player to go out and put in a special performance.

'For me there's not any pressure on them, they're playing against higher-ranked players, and who knows what can happen.

'We saw on Friday that an upset can happen, and it could happen again, but it's going to be really hard work. If the guys are going to do it they're going to have to play very well.

'This is the level we want the boys playing at. Andy plays at it every week, the (doubles) guys do as well, but our other singles players need to improve

'Dan and James, what they did on the first day, improved, and if they can keep going now and use this as another opportunity it can act as a catalyst not just for tomorrow [Sunday] but hopefully for the next few months and beyond.'

Saturday's win was a first for Fleming and Hutchins together in Europe/Africa Zone Group I and was another indicator of just how far they have progressed since linking up at the start of last year.

They are already quarter-finalists at both Wimbledon and the US Open, but Scot Fleming stressed how special it was to gain such a crucial victory for the team at Braehead Arena.

'It's the best (Davis Cup win) for sure,' he said. 'It's a win in Group I. We've got aspirations of playing at a higher level still, but this was a win against a team that's well respected and they've got a lot more experience than us of winning big Davis Cup matches.

'I think it helped that we played them at home and had great support.

'We felt like we played a good match, but not a great match. It was scrappy at times but it shows how far we've come that we can say that and be sitting here with a win so that's a nice feeling.'

The British duo edged the first two sets before the momentum swung completely at the start of the third, which Mertinak and Polasek won in only 23 minutes

The key moment came in the opening game of the fourth, when Hutchins recovered from 0-40 down to hold serve, and they went on to break in the sixth game before the Londoner sealed victory with an ace.

Hutchins said of that game: 'It was crucial. They had all the momentum, we had a dip in performance but I thought they played very well for a set and I lost rhythm on my serve.

'I managed to hit a couple of good second serves and we dug it out. Then we felt comfortable again and I think we were back to where we were and we felt like we were going to step it up at some point in that set, and we did.'


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blueberryhill
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #303 on: February 11, 2012, 08:27 PM »
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Football is a national sport in Argentina, but that hasn't stopped them from producing some very good players.

Yes, but have they got a class system? I don't know.
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Aileen
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #304 on: February 12, 2012, 12:11 AM »
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I don't know how many good British coaches there are in Britain (Leon Smith). After a bit more thought, I think the reason for a national identity is to make sure consistent development of the player as he moves onward from one coach to the next.

However , I believe there are two aspects :  baseline/national identity,  and to develop what is unique to the player.  Each player has strengths and weaknesses and it is important to harness a player strength and overcome his main weaknesses.

For foundation, I would say the following are vital and must be taught to every tennis player to a certain standard.
1. Service
2. FH top spin/slice/flat (with Fed FH flat being the holy grail)
3. BH top spin/slice/flat (double handed for top spin/flat shots - more accurate / power) - out of top 4, Federer is the only player with single handed BH and it is his relative "weak" point as compared to the other 3.
4. Fitness training / endurance / power
5. Terrain - I would propose Grass (to prepare for Wimbledon) & Clay (to hone/perfect stroke & slide technique)
Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.

By the way, I must admit that do not like the use of the doubled-handed BH, but I guess that's a generation thing as it was only really just starting to become popular towards the end of my tennis playing days.  I appreciate that it gives a player more power (and I understand DH forehands are coming into vogue too), and power is very much part of the modern game, but it looks so awkward that I can't believe it isn't responsible for some injuries.  Federer using the old-fashioned single BH is a pleasure to watch and he seems to get by pretty well with it!   
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Philip
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #305 on: February 12, 2012, 12:42 AM »
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With the double handed BH, there is more control and power.  When you are trying to hit the ball hard, there is less chance of it going wrong.  When Fed is playing against Nadal, he is relying on his FH to win points and use his BH to set up the big FH.

This is why Nadal keeps pumping both his FH and BH to Fed's BH.
Andy double handed BH on the other hand is a lethal weapon when he unleashes it.
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Aileen
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #306 on: February 12, 2012, 12:58 AM »
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Football is a national sport in Argentina, but that hasn't stopped them from producing some very good players.

Yes, but have they got a class system? I don't know.
I wouldn't know if they have one exactly the same as ours, but there is a very wide gap between rich and poor in that country, which I'm sure must have some bearing on tennis.

A very good point though about coaches all teaching the same stuff, thereby making things easier for poorer quality coaches; and also Andy has often mentioned the generally poor work ethic in this country when it comes to sport - tennis being no exception - and something which Djokovic has always maintained is due to the fact that life in the UK is too "soft" as opposed to that in countries such as his own.  Perhaps, but could it be that this is due more to the fact that sport in Britain is seen as a leisure acitivity rather than a job?
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Aileen
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #307 on: February 12, 2012, 01:05 AM »
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With the double handed BH, there is more control and power.  When you are trying to hit the ball hard, there is less chance of it going wrong.  When Fed is playing against Nadal, he is relying on his FH to win points and use his BH to set up the big FH.

This is why Nadal keeps pumping both his FH and BH to Fed's BH.
Andy double handed BH on the other hand is a lethal weapon when he unleashes it.
Thanks for the explanation.  I may have enjoyed playing and watching the sport but never had any formal coaching.  Only since joining MW have I really begun to understand it, thanks to members like yourself.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2099787/Great-Britain-lead-Slovakia-2-1-Davis-Cup.html

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith continued to play down expectations despite watching his Great Britain team take a 2-1 lead over Slovakia in Glasgow on Saturday to move to within one rubber of victory ...........
I'm very impressed with Smith's realism and no nonsense attitude.  No wonder Andy rated him so highly when he was being coached by him.  Also I was absolutely sure that Andy would be taking a keen interest in this weekend's performances, particularly the singles.  I'd like to think that we can pull off a win, but, even if we don't, the team will still have gained invaluable experience, something that Fleming acknowledged.  Andrew Castle may have had a point when he said that the DC was in itself a good coach. Just wish he'd kept his snide remarks about Andy not playing out of it!
[ Last edit by Aileen February 12, 2012, 01:36 AM ] IP Logged
blueberryhill
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #308 on: February 12, 2012, 08:16 AM »
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Heard comms, can't remember whom, discussing coaching and one said he'd been advised to use his strengths to hide his weaknesses and focus on them. Whereas in UK emphasis is on improving weaknesses. Like Aileen I've played the game for fun, until my daughter, 13 at the time, started beating me lol, but have no knowledge of formal coaching in this country.
Would be very interested in someone who has, commenting.
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Aileen
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #309 on: February 13, 2012, 04:25 AM »
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Given our ladies' recent success in the Fed Cup plus the men's achievements at Braehead, I'd say British tennis is looking fairly good at the moment, thanks to the excellent captaincies of Judy Murray and Leon Smith.
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Philip
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #310 on: February 14, 2012, 09:51 PM »
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http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/sport/alexwillis/100023692/britains-band-of-merry-men-and-women-keep-on-delivering-now-they-just-need-to-keep-it-up/

It has been some start to 2012 for Britain’s tennis players. So encouraging that I was almost tempted to spend my Monday finding a Geri Halliwell Union Jack dress to wear with pride for the rest of the year. Quite apart from the fact that I’d look like a hippo in a tutu, it’s also perhaps tempting fate a little. After all, it’s only February.

But there’s real reason to depart from the usual Grinch-type attitude to British tennis. The ‘why do we only have one player’ debate. The ‘when will we win a grand slam’ conundrum. And not just one reason, many reasons.

Cast your minds back through the January fog to the beginning of this year’s Australian Open and the presence of six Britons in the main draw, all of them there by merit, the most for 20 years. Admittedly, just one made it into the second round, some had tough draws, some didn’t,  but that doesn’t mean we should forget they got there in the first place. Notably, James Ward made it through grand slam qualifying for the first time, Laura Robson for the second.

While Andy Murray went on to reach his fifth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, Kyle Edmund and Josh Ward-Hibbert reached the junior quarter-finals, topped off by Liam Broady and Ward-Hibbert claiming the boys’ doubles title, the third slam in a row that had ended with some sort of British junior champion.

A week later, the British Fed Cup team became the first to escape the tentacles of the 15-strong Europe/Africa Zone Group I since 1993. Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson and Laura Robson, gelled together under Judy Murray’s enthusiasm and darts-sharp attention to detail, drew a lot of looks in Eilat, Israel, not just because of their results, dropping just one rubber throughout the week, but because of their effervescent  team spirit. From decorated water bottles to inventive changeover chants , the odd rap, and a lot of laughter, Team GB were looked upon with envy by some of the other more discombobulated nations in attendance.

What other event could possibly cause two overly-dedicated holiday makers to sit up hunched over an Israeli live stream until 5am?

One week further into February, on the banks of the Clyde, four more Brits produced another landmark result.

Two years ago, Dan Evans lost the crucial fifth rubber in a gloomy snow-covered  sports hall in Vilnius, Lithuania, a loss that sent the British Davis Cup team down into a relegation play-off to avoid falling into the Davis Cup’s lowest tier. Evans was the scapegoat for everything that has been wrong with British tennis, an immensely talented, yet over-indulged 21- year-old, who seemed to leap from controversy to controversy while promising a lot and not achieving it.

Two years later, Evans, called into Leon Smith’s side to replace Andy Murray last weekend, won the first two Davis Cup rubbers of his career, the second in five sets, to earn Team GB a 3-2 win over the Slovak Republic, and put them within two wins of reaching the World Group.

Evans is still a wee bit unpredictable, a little bit lippy, and on the small side for a tennis player. But who cares. His tennis was something else.

The Americans may scoff at our exuberance, chuckling to themselves at the troop of British scribes who follow Andy Murray’s every bite of sushi, but for the first time in a little while, Britain is a nation that other countries don’t want to draw.

Which is why it was a bit cruel of the arithmetic to place three of Britain’s Fed Cup heroes within a finger’s breadth of each other in the recent qualifying draw in Doha. Anne Keothavong and Laura Robson faced off in the first round, Keothavong winning, to set up a date with Heather Watson. Keothavong won again, making it into the main draw, and then winning again (against Tamira Paszek) to make it to the second round. So that’s something, at least.

But that’s the perils of having more than one Brit in a tournament.

There was another encouraging result this weekend, far down the yellow brick road to Grand Slam success, but important nonetheless. Britain’s 12&U girls team came seventh in the Tennis Europe Winter Cup in Sheffield, having defeated Belarus, now a Grand Slam-winning nation, in the play-offs. Food for the future.

Add to that, less important in the grand scheme, but an achievement nonetheless, the performance of the British vets in the ITF Senior World Championships this weekend, Lucie Ahl, Karen Cross and Leyla Ogan claiming the gold medal in the women’s 35s Suzanne Lenglen Cup, while Colin Smith, Nick Lester, James Smith and Paul Martin won bronze in the men’s 35s.

One good week, or two, of course, is no good in a sport that operates for 52 weeks of the year, and then starts all over again. Should Britain really become the nation of warriors that Roger Draper has longed for for so long, they have to keep on winning.

The British Davis Cup team, up to a Davis Cup ranking of No.33, their highest since July 2009, will be back at the Braehead Arena for the fourth tie in a row to take on Belgium on the first weekend in April. Win that one, and that means beating the Rochus brothers,  the pony-tailed Ruben Bemelmans, and Steve Darcis, and they’ll be into the World Group play-offs in September.

The last time Team GB was in that position was September 2007, taking on Croatia on Wimbledon’s No.1 Court in what was Tim Henman’s farewell.

The Fed Cup team meanwhile will have a play-off their own to think about, on the last weekend in April, and will face one of France, Switzerland, Sweden or Argentina with the draw to be made on Valentine’s Day.

And in betwixt and between the players go back to being individuals, the likes of Murray, Baltacha, Keothavong, Watson and Robson competing or trying to compete at Indian Wells and Miami, as will be Ross Hutchins, Colin Fleming, Jamie Murray and Ken Skupski in the doubles, perhaps Jonny Marray and Jamie Delgado as well. James Ward, Evans and many others will be hard at work on the Challenger and ITF circuits.

So I’m still going to buy me a Union Jack. Just not a dress. Perhaps a badge. Because it’s a good time to be a Brit in the press room
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blueberryhill
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #311 on: February 15, 2012, 07:51 AM »
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Enjoyed reading that Phillip, and I rarely read long posts either! Thanx, very cheery clap
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Elena
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #312 on: February 15, 2012, 07:19 PM »
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There's a Jonathan Overend blog on the state of British tennis, though it 's a bit lost on the overly busy re-vamped BBC website.

"Finally British tennis, and specifically the chief executive Roger Draper, has reached the conclusion that supporting passionate British coaches - people who will still be working for the good of British tennis in 20-30 years time - is the way forward".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jonathanoverend/2012/02/british_coaches_lead.html

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Philip
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #313 on: February 15, 2012, 08:04 PM »
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Enjoyed reading that Phillip, and I rarely read long posts either! Thanx, very cheery clap

You are most welcome BBH Smile
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Tessie
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Re: The current state of British tennis « Reply #314 on: February 15, 2012, 10:28 PM »
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There's a Jonathan Overend blog on the state of British tennis, though it 's a bit lost on the overly busy re-vamped BBC website.

"Finally British tennis, and specifically the chief executive Roger Draper, has reached the conclusion that supporting passionate British coaches - people who will still be working for the good of British tennis in 20-30 years time - is the way forward".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jonathanoverend/2012/02/british_coaches_lead.html



What does Roger Draper know about passion in Tennis, he sat through 3 days of enthralling and exciting British Tennis at the Braehead last weekend in an arena where the roof was in danger of lifting off with for the most part an impassive, and bored expression. He rarely put his hands together and was one of very few still in his seat when Dan Evans pulled off the unbeleivable. Leadership HA! thank goodness for Leon Smith, Judy Murray and as much as I hate to admit it Greg Rusedski. 
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