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http://news.theage.com.au/get-your-act-together-newk-urges-gooch/20071223-1ips.html

Get your act together, Newk urges Gooch
December 23, 2007 - 3:19PM

John Newcombe has slammed Davis Cup player Chris Guccione as a serious under-achiever and is demanding answers from Tennis Australia.

Newcombe, one of the most respected figures in Australian sport, says it's high time Guccione shaped up and started realising his considerable potential.

In what will likely come as a bombshell to Guccione just a week out from the start of his summer campaign, Newcombe accused the former Wimbledon junior runner-up of being way off the pace in the professional ranks.

While acknowledging that niggling injuries might have set him back this season, Newcombe maintained a lack of fitness - and TA's failure to send the 22-year-old to revered coach and fellow left-hander Tony Roche - were behind Guccione's inability to crack even the world's top 80.

Guccione reached a career-high No.88 in July and is currently ranked 91st - but Newcombe says that's simply not good enough.

"Geez, with his height and his serve, he could be f***ing lethal out there," Newcombe told AAP.

"He should be top-30 in the world and trouble anyone if he was properly fit."

Newcombe said although Guccione troubled world No.3 Novak Djokovic in a tight three-set Davis Cup loss to the Serb in September, he also felt Guccione's movement in the match was "embarrassing" at times.

"He can't move left and right," Newcombe said. "It was a bit embarrassing.

"Soon as he got in a rally that went over four or five shots and (Djokovic) moved him ... forget it."

Newcombe said he had approached Guccione and John Fitzgerald - Newcombe's successor as Davis Cup captain - about the issue of working on Guccione's fitness.

"But it's not happening," Newcombe said.

"So why would you support Chris if he's not giving it back?

"He's been in the Davis Cup squads. I look at him and I see a kid who's 6'5, 6'6 and boy you better be f***king fit and strong in the stomach muscles and leg muscles.

"Now, I know he had a couple of injuries, so I'm not speaking like I know the inside situation.

"(But) if I was in charge of Chris, I would take him off the circuit for two months and I'd get the best athletic trainer I could find and teach him how to run and move and to build his stomach muscles and his leg muscles up so that he's got lateral movement."

Guccione, 6'7 - or 201cm, and the second tallest player in the world's top 100, couldn't be expected to be as mobile as Roger Federer, but Newcombe said his concerns were broader in that Tennis Australia was not doing all it could to develop talent here.

He said player development director Craig Tiley deserved some praise for improving Australia's fortunes since joining TA in mid-2005 but found it incomprehensible that Guccione had not been directed to Roche, who coached world No.1s Federer, Patrick Rafter and Ivan Lendl to a combined 14 grand slam titles.

"Tell me this, who's the left-handed tennis player, former great player who's got one of the best backhand volleys of all times? Tony Roche," he said.

"Who is the Optus director of tennis (in Australia) who anyone can go to and it doesn't cost them anything to go there?

"Ask me if Guccione's ever been sent to Tony? No.

"Do you want to know why? So would I ... it's a f***ing good question.

"And who understands better than anyone the work ethic required to be able to report back to Tennis Australia if Chris has the right work ethic.

"Work two weeks with Tony and Tony will tell you whether he's lazy or whether he's got it because he will work in five hours and, if he can survive, then he'll get a good report.

"If he can't do, then Tony's going to say he doesn't have it.

Newcombe said he didn't mean to attack Tiley.

"I've got no axe to grind. I don't give a shit," he said.

"I just want to see the best possible thing done and I don't see the best possible thing being done in some very important circumstances.

"We've come a long way but there's still some things I don't understand.

"They might sit back and say `well, Newk's just saying go with the old blokes, they know better'.

"I'm not saying that. To me, we're 70 per cent on the way. There's another 30 per cent we could be doing to polish it off.

"And I'm speaking as someone who knows what it takes to get to the top of the mountain."

Tiley was in his native South Africa and unavailable for comment
 

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Interesting article, i completely argee with newcombe even though most of the time he's an idiot but he's absolutely right here. But i don't think it's the only problem with the Gooch, also doesn't help that he's very weak mentally.
 

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Yeah, I read that article earlier. With all that swearing, I could sort of feel his rage just from reading it, which was annoying.

I agree, Tennis Australia should be putting in more resources to help Guccione considering he is their greatest hope at the moment of having a decent player. However, Newcombe should be more tactful.

He has a lot of weaknesses in comparison to other players and watching him play, he is very inconsistent throughout the course of a match. He can miss a whole lot of returns and put very little pressure on the opponent and really only strings it together occasionally (in a match) which in some ways makes it exciting to watch (for me), but also means he is very susceptible to losing to low ranked players. While his serve can be great when it's on, he can get broken otherwise especially when he has to hit too many second serves. On a positive note, you could say that it means he has a lot of room for improvement.

He has definitely underperformed as of late and his record has been extremely poor since Adelaide. I haven't seen him play much against lower level opposition and I wonder what his game looks like against players that offer more short balls and where you can get away with more sloppy play or not doing enough with the ball.
 

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I've always wondered what in the blue hell was wrong with the Gooch....
 

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I agree with John Newcombe but I do not like the fact that he swore so much, Guccione could be top 30 if he could hold a rally and could actually move his feet. Before Guccione made the final of Adelaide he acutally did a lot of work on his feet at the AIS and it showed dividends but he obviously did not continue his training and has probably fallen back to where he was in 2006.
 

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MTF. Never changes!
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I love how he goes off his nut, then says he has no axe to grind, doesn't give a shit. Is he telling us or himself!?
 

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MONSOON season.
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I do think he's right concerning Guccione :shrug:
 

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I agree with John Newcombe but I do not like the fact that he swore so much, Guccione could be top 30 if he could hold a rally and could actually move his feet. Before Guccione made the final of Adelaide he acutally did a lot of work on his feet at the AIS and it showed dividends but he obviously did not continue his training and has probably fallen back to where he was in 2006.
yeah, agree, the work showed in adelaide and the choke against rochus did not help at AO and i wonder if that crushed his spirits afterwards. Hopefully he can do something in the summer, have to hope for a good draw in adelaide.
 

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It's hard for the really tall guys. A lot of them also tend to be quite soft characters. You are what you are sometimes. And you can't move well side to side when you're like an ostrich.

Newcombe is pretty much a douche, which is nothing new when it comes to elite athletes. They judge everyone based on their own abilities and tendencies, which is grossly unfair.
 

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I also think that his height is a major disadvantage -- there are physical limitations to being a good mover. Also you have to look at his groundstrokes and admit that there are severe limitations there, no amount of training can fix that.
 

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The Gooch also has severely limited vision since his freckles have invaded his face. Thats why his reaction times are so bad.
 
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