Tag Archives: aussie battler

Phil Hughes. Little Aussie Battler

27 Nov

Phil HughesWhile those of us in the tennis industry sometimes get carried away and talk about tennis as our national sport, and as Tennis Australia will tell you on every piece of collateral that comes out of Melbourne Park – “Tennis – Australia’s Favourite” ,  the simple fact is Cricket in this sports-mad nation – is, was, and probably always will be “Australia’s favourite game”. Look at the out pouring of grief over little Aussie battler Phil Hughes. Hughes, just 25 years of age, was struck on the back of the head by a fast ball on Tuesday, fell to the ground, and despite surgery and an induced coma, died. The country is in mourning. Loss. Young talent, gone. While playing the game he loved. Phil Hughes hailed from a banana and cattle property in Macksville – population 2,000. A country boy, who grew up in the rough and tumble farming community. He hit cricket balls dangling from a sock on the farmhouse veranda, and played mock “test” matches with his brother in the paddock by the house until night fell. He was a tough nut. Loved rugby league and had a penchant for tackling boys twice his size – just as well because he was small in stature. A tough, pesky left-handed batsmen from the sticks who relied on his reflexes and instinct to score. And score he did. He was a prolific run gatherer – so much so that his form demanded he be selected for the national team. Hughes became an Australian test cricketer at the tender age of 19. A proud moment – for Hughes and for his hometown. The local pub got behind him – free drinks for as long as Hughes was in batting. Poor bloke almost went broke as Phil Hughes, in his second test, slayed the hostile South African attack to centuries in both innings of the match. Hughes had arrived. All who knew Hughes describe his “boy from the bush” nature, his love for the game, his street smarts, his ability to light up a locker room, his work ethic, but over and above all: his courage. He was the ultimate Aussie battler, the Little Lleyton, the Phar Lap, the Lionel Rose. Phil Hughes didn’t know how to take a backward step. The PRO


Lleyton done and dusted

26 Jun


Qualifier Dustin Brown crashes down another ace.

Swashbuckling dreadlocked and carefree. No not Captain Jack Sparrow, not Bob Marley. It’s tennis journeyman, German Dustin Brown. Brown was in scintillating form out on Court #3 at Wimbledon against little Aussie battler Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt had his loyal fanatics egging him on but, to use one of their AC/DC motivational songs – was Thunder Struck by Brown’s all out assault.

Dustin Brown is a Jamaican beanpole. 6′ 5″ and 78kg, he speaks Jamaican, German and English and today played the match of his life. Brown (Dreddy to his friends) spent his early pro career driving from event to event in Europe in his camper van. No five star hotels for him. He came into the match ranked 189 in the world. Lleyton Hewitt had coach Tony Roche scout information on him, he didn’t have much to go on, he’s “unpredictable” you could almost hear Coach Roche say – and neither Roche nor Hewitt would be much the wiser after this match. 

Brown served enormously – 21 aces – but more than that, served to solid target areas in the big points. A telling statistic in the match, Hewitt had 10 break points and could only convert 1 of them, by contrast Brown only had 6 break points but converted 5. Hewitt appeared flat, and was unable to answer the barrage from Brown. 74 winners from Brown’s racket, saw Little Lleyton looking skyward and wondering what was coming next. Brown, unpredictable right to the end, left the court in tears, a very happy camper.