Ian keeps keen eye on future

January 04, 2018

Knowledge to go round: Ian Barclay continues to bring up the future generation of tennis stars, having coached Pat Cash to his Wimbledon victory in 1987.

Ian Barclay is recognised immediately at every tennis tournament he attends.

The Goulburn Valley JT/AMT Championships is no different, with Barclay approached by people who remember him as the man who coached Pat Cash to a famous Wimbledon victory in 1987.

But Barclay had been Cash’s coach long before he jumped into the stands to celebrate his defeat of Ivan Lendl.

He had started mentoring the Australian star a decade before, with his talent obvious to see as Cash and his junior doubles partner Mark Hartnett rose up the ranks.

‘‘I started coaching Pat Cash when he was 11, him and another boy called Mark Hartnett, he was quite remarkable too, so we started travelling overseas with them and one thing led to another and they started to win everything, it was great,’’ Barclay said.

Forty years on and Barclay has not lost his ability to recognise a junior that has what it takes.

But he said there were similarities between coaching the best in the world and talented youngsters that lie off the court.

‘‘It’s more being a mentor at times than what it is being a tennis coach, you’re trying to teach the kids manners and teach them about what goes on in life and how to handle different situations and how to be diplomatic instead of being a hot head,’’ Barclay said.

For him it is just whether millennials have the personality and the desire to go on with their talent.

‘‘You get a very, very good idea when they have something really quite exciting and they can make the ball talk and they hit it so darn hard and their timing is great and their hand-eye co-ordination is great, tennis is the one sport you have to have everything, you can’t neglect anything,’’ Barclay said.

But he said distractions such as smart phones and computers were damaging the younger generation’s focus, so much so that at times he has put restrictions on when young players can use their phones.

Barclay served as English national coach, as well as bringing up the country’s juniors and changing the fundamental basics of the nation’s tennis players.

‘‘It’s totally different to this country with Europe, meaning you’re virtually five minutes from all the action whereas here you’re 24 hours away, it’s a big difference,’’ he said.

‘‘(The English) weren’t quite physically right, but when we got them physically right, they could compete with the best.’’

The Park Orchards-based coach has stepped foot in a host of countries, but has also made the trip to Shepparton in January for numerous years and said the atmosphere was second to none in the state.

‘‘This is the best tournament in Victoria in my opinion,’’ he said.

‘‘The atmosphere is amazing and people love to come here for that simple reason especially with the youngsters who keep coming back year in year out.

‘‘I’ve seen 40-year-olds still play who I knew were here when they were kids ... it’s so nice that everybody is catered for no matter what age, so many great volunteers give up their time to come and help which is great to see.’’

More in Shepparton News
Login Sign Up

Dummy text