old head … young shoulders or young head … old shoulders

There is a phrase“you can’t put an old head on young shoulders” … well, at the recently completed US Open Tennis Championships this phrase not only is challenged but also the reverse !

Let us look at the meaning of ‘old’ (head) mature, learnt from life, experienced adversity, job knowledge, clear thinking under pressure, sacrifice, love, support, determination, motivation, acceptance, knowing what you want.

In the case of the Women’s winner, Sloane Stephens, the above experiences have all crossed her path through expectations, injury, influences from many directions, disappointments, self analysis, family, decision making, health choices … a US Open where four of her seven matches were 3 x setters and a final of complete dominance … her shoulders only 24 years.

Now lets have a look at ‘young’ (head) – excited, bullet proof, energetic, fast, powerful, in the zone, emotional, quick, no doubts, go for it, high expectations, single focus, stubbornness, bring it on.

The Men’s winner, Rafa Nadal, typifies the above, in a way re-born to do what he does so well with renewed energy after the past few years of setbacks and after many observers writing him off as a serious contender for major events … oops ! Unstoppable at the US Open on 31 year old shoulders that have no right to do what they do – pushed but no limit.

Tennis continues to defy the norm and at Vintage Tennis we are definitely in line … new tennis is coming from anyone, from anywhere !


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‘Clay’ season

European clay season is well underway with all the attention on some vintage Rafa and his extraordinary ability to take on all-comers and come out on top … a special time for our industry and inspiration to younger players coming through or just starting out with big dreams.

One such player is Vintage Tennis Tournament Performance Program member Nishant Dabas from New Delhi, India – selected in the Asian Federation Team for the ITF under 14 Young Stars Tournament series in Europe, playing in five events (France (2); Germany; Netherlands; Belgium) – the series and his team are sponsored/supported by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

Nishant and Vintage Tennis are very proud of this recognition and selection, he has been working with great diligence over the past two years and is very excited to apply his craft on the clay in an international environment – many notes in his diary 🙂 to come !

We follow the Pro Tour as it moves to grass in July, but keep one eye open as the globes junior talent plays the EJT (European Junior Tour) events throughout July, August culminating in the World Teams Finals (14yrs) and the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Finals (16yrs). 

Europe’s clay season could be the centre of dreams, lets hope so for young Nishant !



Clay court

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Destination … Pro Tour

As the euphoria of the Australian Open and it’s vintage climax fades and Melbourne comes alive with  AFL and the upcoming Grand Prix, aspiring Aussie tennis professionals (18 – 22 years) consider their pathway and plans to achieving a pro tour destination and career. So much to learn, as the transition to ‘open’ tennis is a big leap.

A select few will receive support and varying resources from Tennis Australia and the opportunities to develop their game through training and overseas travel to ITF futures and challenger events – exposing them to the global environment of professional tennis with some guidance. However resources are limited and players must take responsibility and produce quickly or support is removed … and then another path must be found – history shows that this occurrence is very common.

For those on a second tier they are encouraged to seek scholarships with a USA College, a path that combines tennis with an education, daily training and inter-collegiate matches through the NCAA system against similar standard players. A wonderful experience, however first hand experience over a few decades has me challenging this road to the pro tour, as it is actually an education scholarship that the tennis  allows a player to get a degree for less cost than our Australian Institutes, resulting in a stagnation of required focus and development.

Other alternatives taken up by this tier of player is to travel away to different points of the globe, seeking experience by playing international events, thinking that by introducing themselves to this level (ITF) of events and better players somehow progress is assured. Again, experience tells me that players end up more like tourists and any plans, goals or achieved success is diminished

Like any other professional sport, the next step is a huge one for these post juniors and a certain safety net needs to be in place, together with the hard work and knowledge to go to the next levels – ITF | Challenger | WTA | ATP | Grand Slams.

Thus, the ‘home’ alternative pathway – comfort, care, growth, support, influence, on-line education, mentoring, coaching, training, tournament guidance – multiple benefits,  that also involves these young aspirants with international opponents and a strong level of tournament competition including the opportunity to gain experience and vital ‘world’ points ready to take on the globe.

The Australian Pro Tour series  delivers 17 x futures ($25k each) and 4-6 challengers ($50-$60k each) events per year for men and women. Additionally Tennis Australia sanction 26 x AMT Platinum tournaments ($10-$15k) per year for extra high level play (former pro’s and advanced club players participate), furthering the opportunity to play the required matches (60 to 70 a year) to build ‘tournament intelligence’.

The recent women’s Perth International (ITF) main draw of 32 – contained players from 17 different nations, this week a hardcourt event, with a grass one and two clay futures in Victoria to complete this series evidencing the required diversity of opponents and surfaces.

Vintage Tennis wishes our and all aspirants great success on this journey of their lifetime, whatever path is chosen – keep the passion, keep the love and work smart.

Need a re-string?








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Tennis Enhancement by Design … anything we build has to start with thoughts and ideas that we then translate to a design.

As professional tennis coaches our job is to take this design, draft up plans then implement ‘the build’ to create a tennis player of excellence; able to adapt, sustain and overcome in any environment or against any obstacle.

Arranging the physical components – materials (all the tennis shots), ingredients (physical requirements) together with the planning and process to build this structure – is all based around the design.

So what goes into a design? Knowledge, experience, what has come before and what there is at present. Additionally, understanding progress, evolution, innovation and the important ingredient ‘uniqueness’. This uniqueness emerges, not from the coach, but specifically from the player’s character.

Design bounces to life from within. The tennis player’s life is influenced by genetics, environment, family, friends and cultural background. When we implement ‘the build’ and nurture these design influences, we can enhance tournament performance and rise to the next level and the next, and the next.

Best wishes for the Australian Summer 2017 from Vintage Tennis.

Build by design (Img src: www.skyscrapers.com)


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Rrrrrr … tennis !

Right time | right decision | right changes | right returns … tennis in Australia has the capacity to add a few r’s to their overall development in light of it’s non – representation in any of the ‘world junior teams’ events this year. Surely with our history, culture, climate and resources this can be addressed for furthering the aspiring players dreams.

Reviews, in all sports are being conducted nation wide as the Olympic year comes to an end, trade and negotiations commence as AFL clubs relook and rebuild and then all will review the reviews.

So too is the national coaching in tennis having some movement (it’s called accountability) and discussion with player (women) focus groups to identify where the pathway stutters and fades. The movement of coaches and new directions and changes to personnel plus the action taken from tennis feedback hopefully will set up strategies and clear bold initiatives to get that boost and belief so evident in the recent major footy codes grand final results.

Resource distribution towards second tier player assistance and training may well be the answer to our development (spread the finance, spread the knowledge, spread the hope) and it is an old saying but ever so true … the bigger the base, the higher the pyramid.

Tennis is gearing itself for another brilliant summer and hopefully we will hear the right plans to return us to our rightful place in world tennis!

Rod Laver in Action 1956 001

US College plan

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Tennis rising ‘out of India’

New Delhi has the attention of the tennis world this September weekend with one of the legends in sport … Rafa Nadal playing for Spain against India in Davis Cup. The playoff will see which nation returns to the ‘World Group’ for 2017


India’s rising profile is evidenced lately by the achievement, for the first time, of representation in the finals of the Junior Davis Cup (16 nations) and Junior Fed Cup (16 nations) in Hungary in a few weeks, for the 2016 titles.

In a country dominated by cricket, this other ‘bat’ and ball sport (tennis) is seeking the edge to keep this momentum and attention continuing with recent visits to Melbourne, Australia by New Delhi’s Masters Tennis Academy player Nishant Dabas, ranked #6 in 14 years nationally and not turned 13 years as yet, additionally another player from New Delhi, 17 year old Shanu Agarwal, has commenced a four week period in Melbourne to enhance her game and entry into the world of professional tennis.

Vintage Tennis innovative and holistic Tournament Performance Program is the reason for Nishant’s second trip down under (his first in 2015) and Shanu’s first, with plans underway for more training / mentoring in 2017 … maintaining that edge to success. Director Doug Hill has been delighted by the single focus of these fine young people and impressed by the commitment to what the program can give them and what they can give to their tennis back home.


looking to the future


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Process & Structure

Process … Structure … the catch cry of modern coaches around the globe in all sports and the disciplines of a successful pathway.

However, what if it doesn’t gain the required success … is it broken ! Does it need fixing ! The answer is most often … No. So what is missing … is it not up to date … not innovative … not thorough … the answer again is … No.

What is missing is the addition of culture and character … the player/s have to be considered in the mix … the history of their game has to be in the mix … thus the ‘buy in’ to the style of play exhibited … and then a combination results in sustained success.

In Australia, success stems from our positive (some call it aggressive or attacking) approach to our sport … over the decades this has been the DNA in our success, along with our culture of never giving up and the will to win (so evident at this time of year and the legacy of our ‘diggers’) … combined with a character of larrikinism, fun, creativity, daring, bravery, courage and hard work.

Vintage Tennis passion for tennis and national success, where over the last month Australia has failed to make the World group in Davis Cup & Fed Cup plus our Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup teams have not qualified for the finals in September (16 Nations) being defeated by India in both events at the Asia/Oceania qualifying event, encourages all high performance deliverers to assess whether we have ‘buy in’ from the enormous talent pool in Australia and once more challenge the upper levels of our game … doing it the Aussie way !

Lets add to process with player gifts … add to structure with player style … and be mindful that the pathway is full of passion from the cultural background … lets take from yesterday add today and get tomorrow!

Rod Laver in Action 1956 001

Hoad Hopman Rosewall 1954White city world record Davis Cup 1954 FB Cover



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Copy – or – Create

Australian Open concluded and much debate, analysis and view points taken away by tennis enthusiasts and experts. Around the world tennis coaches look at the successes and try to translate this to their students … thus the question … copy or create!

Vintage Tennis view is both … copy or create must be aligned to each individual and where they are in their tennis development journey, their assets, their character, their skill (talent) level and their ‘discipline’ barrier.

Copy the ingredients of balance & movement to turn defense into offence without reducing power and focus on placement – thus not allowing your opponent the luxury of easy attack (Djokovic, Azarenka) … create the opportunities by variety and pressure – thus not allowing your opponent to settle into any rhythm (Federer, Murray, Raonic) … take your opponent on by dictating when you can and making them play another shot – thus testing their patience and concentration/discipline (Kerber).

An holistic view is required as players review and refine … evolve and execute … plan and play; an interesting year ahead and the player and coach must run by the mantra of from courage comes confidence, so never is it either/or … it is all!

Program checklist (Img src: mdcurrent.in)Program checklistCheck Plan Do Act



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Get set ….. Dream !

Brace yourself ….. there’s a dream coming in and with the Australian Tennis Open about to hit and the Olympics brewing that dream comes often and loud !

On too many occasions outside influences tell us that we are not good enough or it’s too hard or it’s a long way off or it’s too late or wouldn’t you be better off doing something else ….. all but (as Elvis put it) ….. “follow that dream” ….. 

So what do we learn/experience/gain by having a dream to win ….. self satisfaction by the effort to achieve | the value of hard work | discipline counts | things worth having are earnt not given | the benefits of being better than before | that from courage comes confidence | making a difference in the peoples lives around you or that witness you | the love of it | the acknowledgement that you gave it your best | never giving up | most of all – making dreams come true !

The next time outside influences make comment … turn around and respond … “you need a dream to follow” … then get on with yours !

Hang on to your dreams ….. if in any doubt ….. bring them to us at Vintage Tennis 

US College planFrench Trophybig future - compressed

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ready, play …..

ready, play ….. the call of the umpire and we are underway, or are we ready to play?

With the summer Pro Tour in Australia commenced; the Junior Davis and Fed Cup’s about to start in Madrid; ITF’s in Australia and New Zealand currently in progress and ATP / WTA events rounding up our tennis calendar … Australia’s tennis talent is on show !

Over the coming months we shall witness those players that have dedicated their time to hard work, sacrifice and clear goal setting focus to make an impact during this period before the Australian Open and understand what it takes to realise their dreams and passion to achieve excellence in elite tennis.

Check list:  speed | flexibility | agility | strength | aerobic and anaerobic capacity | endurance | nutrition | racquet skills | power | placement | direction | recovery | balance | control | creativity | flair | courage | precision | shot selection | patterns of play | discipline | intensity | desire | perseverance | fight | reading the play | understanding own game | use of emotion | focus | equipment | rules update | travel | money | analysis | belief ….. ready, play


Plan | Act | Do | Check

Plan | Act | Do | Check


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