Will Berrigan unleashes a forehand that local coach Danny Sousa has helped to craft.
Will Berrigan unleashes a forehand that local coach Danny Sousa has helped to craft. Submitted

Future tennis stars keen on coach

TENNIS coach Danny Sousa has just returned to Coffs Harbour after a successful tour with a couple of his Sydney clients.

A couple of wins in particular over the number one player in the State, have not only made him proud but more importantly, it has equipped one of his players tactically to be able to take his game to the top of the rankings.

Sousa spent a week in Sydney preparing two of his players, William Berrigan and Tara Radovic, for the 2011 tournament season and so far the results more than justified the six-hour drive.

“Of course my base is Coffs Harbour but I help players all over Australia and I even provide advice for a couple of international coaches and players,” Sousa said.

“William and Tara have other great coaches in Sydney and it’s flattering that with all the great coaches down there they like my work so much.”

Sousa was asked to assist Berrigan in a unique event held at the Gosford Tennis Centre, called the ‘Mentor Tournament’ with national points and ranking positions up for grabs.

The tournament is unique in that a player is allowed to nominate a coach to sit courtside with them and advise them at each change of ends.

Despite a tough draw Berrigan and Sousa won the title winning a very tight quarter final 5-7 6-4 7-5 over Jeremy Slee and semi final 0-6 6-4 7-6 over Alan Poric before defeating number one seed Brian Tran 7-5, 7-6 in straight sets in the final.

Sousa added that being courtside like Davis Cup captain would be has its place in junior tennis.

“I believe that players need to be able to sort out problems on court for themselves and that is still the best way to learn.

"However these events also have a place in a player’s learning as they can try things and have immediate success and they can also be made aware of what their opponent is either trying to do to them or what the opponent may be struggling with.”

Berrigan later used the same tactics and was assisted by text by Sousa to record his second win in a row over Tran at the Gosford Gold Junior this time winning 6-1 6-3 before defeating number one seed Alex Fairbanks 5-7 7-6 6-0.

These wins were impressive given the fact that Tran is ranked number one in the State for his age and number two in Australia. Tran’s national ranking is actually 121 places higher than Berrigan’s but it made no difference in the recent clashes.

Radovic didn’t record the same impressive results that Berrigan did but as a qualified Tennis Australia High Performance coach, Sousa can see unlimited potential in the young girl’s game.

“Tara is at a totally different spot in her tennis to Will,” he said.

“She is a great talent and is catching up very very fast.”

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