In 2010 Toby Mitchell, Dan Cochrane and Rich Gabb had the opportunity to practice with the worlds best and this year Miles Bugby, Toby Mitchell and Scott Clayton have enjoyed the priviledge. It is a fantastic opportunity for our young players to find out first hand what the target is, how solid and focused the top guys are and most importantly how relaxed they are when they practice.
It is always a joy but also a sharp reminder to me when I'm on court with the top guys how sweetly their ball strike is and how consistently heavy the hit is. Ability is a big part but the desire to find the sweet spot over and over again by disciplining the eyes to truly watch the ball and the feet to be in perfect position so often is arguably their biggest talent. Add to this the commitment to keep improving, the resilience to keep coming back from any disappointment and most of all their ability to endure and yet find some enjoyment in taking the pain of both the training and relentless work in points makes it clear how unique they are as people.
So who will win this Masters final? The slight ebb and flow of momentum between the top 4 is fascinating and ever changing. Novak was clear of the rest after the US Open but Andy had it before Paris with the 3 titles in a row. With Basle and Paris titles Roger has grabbed it back. Rafa is unknown but will be fresh and chomping at the bit to re-establish as will Novak. Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga need a Slam or this title to announce themselves as part of a "big 5". I cannot see Ferrer or Fish winning.
TEAMBATH-MCTA is motoring on well with career high rankings flowing in each week. Sam Murray is on the cusp of top 400 WTA, Rich Gabb and Toby Martin closing in on top 900 and Scott Clayton (ITF 177), Toby Mitchell (280), David Fox (320) and Samm Butler (450) all climbing. Sam has won 2 Challenger titles in Australia and both her and Lisa made a quarters in singles. The younger players are also climbing European rankings so we are pleased with overall progress.