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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-08-2015 01:15 AM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

An interesting interview on his approach to his new role in the Oz today, which must be putting the shivers down the backs of many parents/players:

AS Pat Rafter moves on to the most important phase of his tennis career on Monday, he used a personal anecdote to explain why he wanted to curtail what a trusted lieutenant described as a “culture of entitlement” among our most talented youth.

Rafter, a former world No 1 and dual-US Open champion, has piloted Australia back in to the World Group of Davis Cup as team captain, a role he stepped down from on Thursday due to the demands of his new job with Tennis Australia as Director of Tennis.

No love lost: Great tennis feuds

But Rafter did not have it easy when he was growing up, as he told The Weekend Australian.

Never assessed among Australia’s elite players as a junior, Rafter used his story as an example of why he believes it is futile to devote significant financial resources to the country’s best primary school and early secondary school kids.

He believes it is only as players reach maturity that their talent can be gauged accurately and, more importantly, their desire to be the best. To place too much emphasis on tennis at the expense of their schooling could prove detrimental. I was never part of the Australian system. I never got the trips away in the first place,” Rafter said.

“When I finished high school, I did a trip with about 12 and we went and played, with a coach, a satellite in Spain.

“Then I spent two months playing in France, driving around in a car, sleeping in tents and people’s backyards, and we played two tournaments a week, grinding on clay, learning how to play on clay, just myself, my brother and a mate. And we pooled all our money and if we could afford to get a hotel for the night, we did, but we learnt how to play and we did it all on our own.

“We had to fight. We had to beg. We had to do everything we could just to get by for two months. It was a great avenue for me to learn, to develop, to grow, to mature.

“You’d call your own lines. You’d get in fights with South Americans. You’re hustling for 50 bucks. It is a pathway which I’d encourage. The American college system is another pathway. They are different avenues (to reach the top).”

Rafter begins his new role at an intriguing time for Australian tennis. The development of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis, among others, has created great excitement. But our younger women are not doing quite as well.

Rafter hopes to broaden the pool of youngsters aspiring to reach the top. Broad-based programs such as HotShots and Super10 will continue to ensure tennis is played by schoolkids. But as he fine-tunes his plans in coming months, Rafter wants development dollars spread more evenly to players as they reach the critical stage of their development in the mid-teens to early 20s.

It is something Paul Annacone, a former elite player and renowned coach of players including Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, believes in. Annacone, who is working with Rafter as a consultant, said younger players could become too reliant on receiving funding and support.

“There is not a sole way to do things but there are lots of characteristics that lead to excellence,” Annacone said.

“Let’s be honest. We are not curing cancer here. But this is about excellence, finding ways to afford young players opportunity, not entitlement, and that is a big difference, especially within a federation.

“I saw it in England, I saw it in the US and I have seen it here. Kids start to feel like it is not Tennis Australia, it is The Bank of Australia, and that is something you want to get rid of. You want to make sure that there is an opportunity for kids to play, to get better, to use the resources, but not to keep receiving blank cheques.”

While the vision statement is public, exactly how Rafter will implement it is not yet certain.

Funding for athletes who spend only part of their time working within Tennis Australia is under investigation along with investment in sending younger players to Spain.

Working how best to ensure education remains a priority for emerging players is also important to Rafter.

“It will mould kids, give them a better perspective on life and in turn, I think that will create a better culture and civility between all the coaches, all the groups, all the players,” Rafter said.

“It’ll help the kids not burn out. If I couldn’t do that, I wouldn’t take the job. Kids are kids. We don’t want to put too much emphasis or focus on a select few.

“I think that will then not create so much pressure on those kids, so much focus, until they get older, when they are getting to their last couple of years of school, to when they have finished school, and then we can see who has come out of it.”

With Rafter stepping down as Davis Cup captain, a succession plan of sorts has been implemented, with Wally Masur to take the reigns on an interim basis.

Lleyton Hewitt will assume the captaincy following his retirement following next year’s Australian Open.

Not all have welcomed the process, with Pat Cash and Paul McNamee pondering whether there should have been an application process in said of what the former Wimbledon champion called a “secret handshake”.
12-06-2014 06:57 AM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

I watched 6 points of this clicking in 2 random spots. They were all Rafters serves containing 4 return winners from Ivanisevic, a double fault from Pat and an awkward rally ending in Pat hitting it into the net.
Hope I just have bad timing lol.
I fear not...certainly not as bad as the worst of them (though pretty much impossible to be worse than Agassi in particular!) but the real stars amongst the legends have been Philipoussis and Santoro.
12-06-2014 04:30 AM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

I watched 6 points of this clicking in 2 random spots. They were all Rafters serves containing 4 return winners from Ivanisevic, a double fault from Pat and an awkward rally ending in Pat hitting it into the net.
Hope I just have bad timing lol.
12-04-2014 04:35 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

12-01-2014 09:20 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

AO doubles with Hewitt again?
LOL - think he made it pretty clear that would never ever happen again.

Fun watching him play IPTL though, mind you absolutely trounced by Philippoussis (in fairness, it was Rafter's third night in a row playing while P was fresh. Bit too much to expect the legends to play more than once in each location in my opinion)!

Another mention of the TA revamp (plus AO heat policy and Newcombe medals with a moment of fame for my blog!) today though:

As minor changes to the Australian Open's contentious extreme heat policy are set to be implemented for the 2015 tournament, a major revamp of Tennis Australia's player development department under new director of performance Patrick Rafter is also well underway.

While current high performance manager Machar Reid and his higher-profile colleague Scott Draper - the manager of developmental tennis and head coach of the AIS and high performance academies - quietly prepare to depart their posts in the coming days, there was no official comment on the extent of the restructure under Rafter, the Davis Cup captain who was a surprise appointment to the key full-time position last month...
12-01-2014 12:05 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

AO doubles with Hewitt again?
11-30-2014 08:37 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

Originally Posted by scotthongkong View Post
He got rid of Scott Draper.
Thanks Scott HK
11-30-2014 08:12 AM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

He got rid of Scott Draper.
11-29-2014 06:37 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

Thanks for the vid clip Ausie. Pity the mini-Wimbledon rerun at IPTL had the same outcome as last time though! But Pat was better than the first night against Santoro, so maybe he can pull off a win against Moya tonight!

Have to admit I'm really enjoying the IPTL format, and the glimpses of those great old games of the past included.
11-29-2014 04:44 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

11-05-2014 08:27 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!


Where does that out Scott Draper?

I thought he was the High Performance Director.
Or am I incorrect?

Rafter - not so sure
11-05-2014 08:58 AM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

Tennis Australia: Pat Rafter takes key role as director of performance to revive Australia’s grand slam fortunes

PAT Rafter is to become Tennis Australia’s new director of performance, one of the most powerful roles in professional tennis.

The former world No. 1 and dual US Open champion will report directly to TA chief executive officer Craig Tiley as he seeks to rejuvenate the nation’s grand slam fortunes.

Rafter, 41, is expected to continue as Australian Davis Cup captain before eventually passing the baton to Lleyton Hewitt, who is likely to retire after the 2016 Australian Open.

A dual Wimbledon finalist, Rafter will start in his new role in February.

“It’s a challenge I am really looking forward to,” he said.

“There is so much I can learn but also a lot I think I can contribute. It’s exciting. I feel the time is right to step into this role and help us take the next step.

“I think about it all the time. What can we do better? What can our kids be doing that can make them better than any of the kids from other countries? What more can they do to be the best?

“I would like everyone to know that I am not coming into this role early next year saying that I have all the answers. Far from it.

“I am going to take my time, listen, watch and learn. But I also think there is a lot I have gleaned from years on the tour being around a lot of great players, coaches and people that can help us get better and better.”

TA president Steve Healy welcomed the appointment.

“It is extremely rare for one of the greats to take on a role such as this. In fact this could be a first,” Healy said.

“That just exemplifies Pat Rafter the person and this great Australian’s commitment to the sport of tennis.”

Tiley is delighted to make the appointment but asked the public to give Rafter time to settle into the role.

“Pat is an outstanding person, strong leader and terrific mentor. His principles and personal ideology align very strongly with what we want young Australians to achieve in world tennis,” Tiley said.

“What he has already done with the Davis Cup team is a credit to his leadership and we have high hopes for him in this role. It is a high pressure role, which is why we have taken a long time to get it right. Indeed he has been performing a significant part of it already as part of his Davis Cup responsibilities.

“While pressure is certainly something Pat is used to and handles well, I would urge our wonderful tennis loving public to give him time and room to get into this role and do it his way. Because he has shown that his way works.”
01-15-2014 08:50 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

Glad that is over. Great for the general public but not a great match. Pat's reaction time was slow on returns and looked rusty both on serve and court awareness, movement. Lleyton was stiff backing up from the previous day. I personally would not like to see that again on the ATP tour.
01-14-2014 09:23 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

Originally Posted by RustyOz View Post
With Lleyton out of the sngles, this match will be on - but how good will Rusty be after th five setter in the heat. We'll see this afternoon...
Yeah, very possible that Lleyton will be sluggish out there today. I'm sure they would have liked to put it off for a day now that Lleyton is out of the singles. Hopefully though, both guys are sharp as possible in the scorching conditions and put on a good performance.
01-14-2014 08:30 PM
Re: Pat "The Champ" Cheering thread!

With Lleyton out of the sngles, this match will be on - but how good will Rusty be after th five setter in the heat. We'll see this afternoon...
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