I was reading Australian Tennis Magazine yesterday and I was reading an article about Jason Kubler, who, as we know, has been given a wildcard into the Australian Open, despite the fact he is only sixteen. I knew that he was a junior Davis Cup hero for Australia, but what I didn't know was that he was a claycourt specialist - apparently he's being called a right-handed Rafa.
How about that?
And then I was reading another article about Peter Luczak, currently Australia's second ranked man, and his favourite surface is clay too. This one I did know, but had completely forgotten, due to Luczak not really being on my radar.
And now Tennis Australia has gone and hired Felix Mantilla to help bring all our young talent to Slam glory in the future - specifically on clay.
And I said... awesome!
There's this notion that Aussies are totally crap on clay, and, sure, we don't have the bestest group of claycourters ever, but we so don't suck. Not only is there Luczak, but Stosur was the best performing Aussie at the Slams this year with her semi finish in Roland Garros. And we have a great group of youngsters coming up, kids like Kubler - actually, I read a really interesting fact which I did not know: Australia has the top 17 year old, 16 year old and 15 year old in the world (Bernard Tomic, Jason Kubler and Luke Saville). So hiring Mantilla is really a great idea, I think - it will maximise the potential of these youngsters, who might have clay talent but not the opportunity to play on it so much.
So great move, Tennis Australia. Applause everywhere from me!
3 weeks ago