Yesterday's post about player development mentioned the apparently differing philosphies between Tennis Australia's Craig Tiley and Jason Stoltenberg, a former tour player turned development coach. As Andrew D pointed out in a comment overnight, the two have rarely agreed on anything in the past three years since Tiley's been in Australia and these two articles certainly support that view.
From the sound of the headline--"Stolts takes a stand to stop development rot"--The Sydney Morning Herald is taking Stoltenberg's side, but the paper does present Tiley's response in the much less sensationally headlined: "Tennis Australia returns serve."
Tiley refrains from pointing out the success of the current Australian juniors, who won three of the four ITF International Junior competitions last year, because I'm sure he is as concerned about pro success as Stoltenberg, and knows that junior wins will not be the measure of his tenure in Australia. But I think that is a positive step for Australian tennis that Stoltenberg is overlooking. And Stoltenberg doesn't instill in me a lot of confidence when he says:
"Two very good girls - Johanna Konta and Lora(sic) Robson - may technically be playing for Australia, but they're being developed and funded by Britain," Stoltenberg said.
"That's how bad our system is. Two of our best girls have gone overseas. How many kids do we have to lose before something is done?"
To my knowledge Laura Robson has never played for Australia; when she won the Eddie Herr 12s in 2006, she was playing under the Union Jack and has been ever since. She was born in Australia, but to blame Tiley's system for her family's move to Great Britain seems a bit of a stretch. I know Konta's allegiance has fluctuated between Great Britain and Australia depending on the tournament, but I am not familiar with the story behind that.
I do believe that both Tiley and Stoltenberg want the same thing--a strong presence for Australian tennis at the game's top echelon. It's unfortunate that they aren't able to work together to help make that happen.
Saturday, June 21, 2008