Callum Neal gets final coaching hints from Danny Sousa before the Forster Tennis Open.
Callum Neal gets final coaching hints from Danny Sousa before the Forster Tennis Open. Contributed

Confidence in Aussie tennis

TIEBREAK Tennis Academy coach Danny Sousa believes Australian tennis is set to make a revival on the international scene.

He also believes he may be coaching a few of the players who’ll spearhead the comeback after taking four raw talents to the Forster Junior Open this week.

“These events help me teach players how to prepare for a match, how to pick opponents’ weaknesses, what to eat, and even what to do during rain delays so that you come out firing once the rain stops,” he said.

“I made so many mistakes during my playing career and I want my players to avoid them.”

Callum Neal from Kempsey drives to Coffs Harbour twice a week to train with Tiebreak Tennis.

Alek McKenzie, who used to drive from Grafton twice a week but is now based on the Gold Coast, still drives down here regularly to train.

And Rhys Beccaris and Harrison Lombe both are dedicated enough to travel from Sydney to get their chance at glory.

“Most of the events these kids play in are between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and as a result, they come through Coffs Harbour frequently and I also go to Sydney where I have a training base,” Sousa revealed.

“There’s personal enjoyment as when you’re coaching these guys they really push your knowledge, so I often learn and improve as a coach by working with them.”

During the Forster Open, Rhys Beccaris won singles and doubles of the 14-and-under bracket, while No 4 seed Callum Neal lost in three sets to No 7 seed Alex Fairbanks in the semi final.

If Callum had won, Sousa would have been coaching both finalists.

“It’s an interesting situation when two of your players confront each other,” he said.

“Normally I tell my players before a match how to play the other guy and what his weaknesses are but when two players I work with play each other, I can’t do this.

“All I can do is remind them to prepare and warm-up well but tactically I tell them that I can’t say anything and have to just watch what they do.”

Harrison Lombe (No 4 seed) had a good tournament in his first month in the 16-years age group losing in the quarter finals to eventual runner-up Miladin Tepsic 7-6, 6-4.

He then teamed up with Tepsic to win the doubles, defeating the No 1 seeds in the final.

“Harry had a great tournament and has picked up lots of national points this month after playing well at the Casino Open including playing doubles with myself where we made the quarter finals,” Sousa said.

“Alek McKenzie lost to eventual runner-up Alex Fairbanks but despite being a late starter with me has been one of the most improved.

“I have just looked up the State rankings and Rhys is 7, Harrison at 11, with Callum and Alek McKenzie equal ranked at No 17.

“If coaches receive the help from Tennis Australia that I have, and the correct programs continue to be implemented, there is no possible way that Australia will not produce some of the best players in the world again.”

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