A pleasant surprise.

12 Feb

I took a phone call the other day – and it was from a “past” player I used to coach wanting to catch up for a coffee. This is one of the great joys of teaching and mentoring young players. They grow up and often come back and look you up. We sat and reminisced.

Simon won the National Grasscourts and Claycourts in the same year. He was a short, strong lefty with a passion for hard work and a competitive streak that was borne through his love of Aussie Rules football and cricket. He was the youngest in a family of over achievers – doctors and lawyers one and all.  To get Simon to travel and play was a real challenge as he loved his home town, his team sports, his family and his mates. When we did venture overseas for a swing of ITF junior events Simon showed his grit and class on clay and extreme heat with consecutive semi final and quarter finals in places as far flung as Greece, Egypt and Cyprus.

 

There were some classy juniors on that trip – he ran into current ATP tour top 100 players Dudi Sela, Tamiraz Gabashivili and Marcos Baghdatis and managed wins against 2 of them. In a memorable match in 42 degree heat in Giza, Egypt, Simon was getting the very rough end of some horrendous line calls from a local player. I was charting the match and had seen enough so went in search of the referee. He was sitting in the air conditioned club room, drinking coke and definitely not in the slightest bit interested in intervening in anything to do with going outside, especially where a local player was concerned. Consequently I dragged a reluctant and over weight ref out to the court, where he proceeded to give my player a warning and code violation and I got a dressing down on tennis etiquette “Egypt” style. Somewhere in the midst of all this my much loved Guy Laroche wrist watch disappeared. It can be a steep learning curve on the ITF junior circuit.

Like a lot of Aussie juniors, Simon lost his way somewhere between 18 and 20. He kept playing footy, joined a cricket club and didn’t venture far from home. And now. Well he finally did travel – He’s living in London, has been for 5 years now, and is currently one of the top cricket player agents going around. Just shows all that training, discipline and time management skills learnt as a junior tennis player come in handy in so many ways.

The PRO.

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