Tennis Lots

      

We are routine swimmers and have been practicing it almost daily between 1km to 2km. Tennis isn't anywhere in our imagination. It began with two old racquets. My broken Adidas and my wife's Slazenger of 1989. Both are aluminium frames. The interest set in after they witness the thrills and spills of the Grand Slams in 2011 on cable TV.  My wife and I never thought to ever use those racquets again, well, it was 23 years ago! I begun introducing my kids to the sport. Initially, with the idea to keep those two youngest boys further occupied as they enjoy new games and sports, and, minimize their idling time with TV cartoons and K-pops. Then, I got entangled with this training obligation as our two youngest sons began playing better was encouraged to become competitive. Their first competition was the Johor Junior Circuit Tennis Championship organized by the Johor Tennis Association in January 2014.

About 6 months later on February 14th, 2012 in the club

A year later in March 2013 on our favourite Court No.4 in the club

Two years further in Oct 2014 still on Court No.4 JGCC

                                                                                           The Family 'Coach' struggles!
  
     


    

Nur Aisyah (pic-above) - the elected umpire for most of the bouts among the brothers. With the 'vito-power' entrusted, she shall call for the points and rule-out disputes especially in uncertainties concerning 'in' and 'out' balls. We can challenge by pointing on fresh marks on the court surface. Usually if the call comes from Abdul Rahim, who makes more challenges than anyone else and tires the umpire, she'd eventually resort to calling ... "Abdul Rahim has no more challenges remaining". Well, the little brother seems more concerned for his points. And, he'd shed tears after almost every match which he loses. Well, he has more wins of course for he has better court coverage than the rest. In one weekend, Nur Aisyah battles Abdul Rahim in one set. I thought it would be a close match since both are 'light-weights'. Both serves pretty balanced and have few 'double-faults'. Returns were good in terms of ball-heights, placings and drive strengths. Somehow the little brother was able to deliver winners in the form of top-spins and sharp slices that his sister's returns would either falls out or caught by the net. Abdul Rahim slams the match at 6 - 0. The umpire-turned-player then shed tears for awhile too. I believe she'd make a return match soon. As parents, we enjoy such zealousness in sports that not only releases sweat but tears too (LOL). Say 'No' to video-games. For me, still ... " No Woman No Cry!" .. for whatever it means.

 


Restringing Abd Rahim's Slazenger
   
1st Competition
Johor Juniors U12
Jan 2014
1st Competition
Johor Junior U16
JTA in Jan 2014
Vivek Balakrishnan (right) reached the final
in Kangar. Mamee Malaysia Tennis Junior
Tour Leg-.

        

Order of Play Leg-5 Tennis Malaysia Junior Tour in Kangar, Perlis. It's Abdul Rahim second participation in the tour. Survived up to 2nd Round. 14-17 August 2014. A step up from his first entry in UUM Sintok earlier.

     


Managed 3rd place after 2 years of Tennis from absolute zero. Entered 5-6 tournaments so far. Swimmers turned Tennis Players.


   
The routine registration and callouts for attendance and order of play in Johor Junior Tour 29th August 2014. Fewer came for this tournament as this time of the year is the 'exam-fever' of UPSR and PMR which affects U12 and U16 players.

          

This couple is the parent of Shamirul. They truly inspires.
 
These 3 pictures above is a special acknowledgment and admiration to the family of Mr. Mohammed Adam and wife who are were both athletes. We just met in Sintok, Kedah when Abdul Rahim made his first debut in Mamee Tennis Malaysia Junior Tour in Leg-4. His son Shamirul Shahril (picture with trophy) is playing above his age group already. He's at this time 14 and playing 18-under and emerged champion. I'd say at this point that if there's any Malaysian player who would eventually be placing their parents in any of the ATP Tour's 'Player's Box' would be him and his twin sister Suhana. I sincerely hope to see this family and their tennis stars represent Malaysia there! Amin
Abdul Rahim and Abdul Rahman went on to play in MBPJ-MILO Junior Tennis Open Championship in Kelana Jaya Sports Complex, Petaling Jaya Selangor. Both of them didn't survive round-1. But, their games are more exciting and poses greater challenge to their opponents. Better choice of return strokes are something which I see as some light at the end of the tunnel, literally. Double-faults are reduced and power in services seems enhanced. More confident and less shaky-hands from the nerves seems evident. In round-1 Abdul Rahim had to play against the Seeded No.1 Malaysian ITF Under-12 and conceded a 6-1 6-2 lost to this ultimate champion for this tournament. Abdul Rahim is picking up gradually. Forehand is still a major element for improvement. A call for an immediate training focussing on this supposedly more dominant and powerful arm. Both Abdul Rahim and Abdul Rahman are lefties. So, immediately after the UPSR 2014 completed in October I improvised some elements of our training sessions at the club. Back to the basics and gradually into addressing techniques. Yes, I'm injured again. Abdul Rahman too need some adjustment to unleashed his actual power especially from his single-handed backhand. A 'lethal weapon' if he could get it in right timing, footing and posture. Well, he armed-wrestled me out all the time! 
   

Champion for the First time! Leg-1 Johor Junior Open 2015 February 27. Akademi Tennis Perling, Johor Bahru.
From left: Hazim, Abdul Rahim, Nasruddin and Aiman competed in round-robins.
Well, quite an encouraging start in 2015 U-14 debut and emerged as the 'Juara Kampung' (Local Champ) at last. Not the least though is his formidable backhand down the line which has improved in consistency. Forehand is still a prototype, literally. Working hard on his abdominal strength but footwork is still an issue. First serves has more power and its 'in' percentages is circa 45-55% only. Notable consistency in his second services and fairly good placements. He is still influenced or rather complacent to opponents' tempo and only make his 'move' when big points are at stake. Missed two legs of Tennis Malaysia Junior Tours 2015. Be competing in its Leg-3, Air Keroh Melaka in April.
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I must admit that by far in this TennisMalaysia Junior Tour legs that this particular court is the best, both in terms of its organization and tennis complex facilities. Of cause mom is always around to check on her son's performance. Abdul Rahim appears more comfortable when his parent is not watching closely. So we decided to watch from a distant and unnoticed. 
Abdul Rahim
Well, his first round meeting is with a Malacca boy Max Goh and their matches in both sets appears somewhat balanced.
Max Goh of Malacca
Both delivered equal number of double faults, winners and those unforced errors too are bagfull. Despite the overall 'conservative' flow of both sets where Max won by 7-5, 7-5, we are still 'compensated' with a number of exciting net-plays, passing shots and entertaining short rallies. These two ended up in deuce in almost every game points. Abdul Rahim's first serve percentage seemed to dropped to about 20% but was able to hold most of his serves in the first set. He lost the set mainly due to his wrong choice of return, namely, bad slicing from baseline that sent the ball high enough for Max to pound away some winners. Max has a notable strong first serve and quite a hard-hitting baseliner. Similarly, his first serve 'in' percentage is also low. The second set was still balanced but in a different manner, both broke each other's serve until 5-5. Their battle in this set was rather hot and further heated up with the 12noon sun. Well, Abdul Rahim's luck in the doubles seems to fare better outcome by winning the first round with partner Mohd Hakimi of Kluang, Johor.
Muhd Hakimi possess strong baseline hitting and service returns although his service is made of short tosses and more oftenly delivering double faults. But, his reflections in front of the net is applaudable saw him deliver many encouraging winner points and left their opponents literally flat-footed. He has good baseline returns and able to intercept at the net. They won the first match in 3 sets 6-1, 3-6 and 3rd in tie-break (7). Their adventure ended in round-2 though and went home immediately after!
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Prior to this event we had to restring his 2nd choice Blade Lite 101 after it snapped during the Malacca tournament last week. On top of that his cracked 1st choice racquet of identical type was replaced with Blade 104. This time string tension is raised from 40 to 50 pounds, black widow to rough coat, as his ball placements are gradually improving. Tested this new settings in the club this morning (7/4/2015) with promising results. Apparently, he claimed better control in serves and returns. Well ...
  
.. he (Abdul Rahim) survived to 2nd round and was knocked out by AirilIrzad. His doubles stint too got only to second round. So, we all watched the U-16 boys finals between Shamirul and Razlan which saw the ultimate champion conquer both sets comfortably. As always, the Chairman of Maju Tennis Malaysia Mr. Mirzan Tun Mahathir was present throughout this final event and its presentation ceremony. Somehow, despite his noteworthy commitment in nurturing young tennis players in this country I still wonder if he has any avenue in feeding champions like Shamirul and a few others to the international or world class level. 

As far as I have learnt from relevant parents, whose children are around top 5 seeded here and top 10 in LTAM, that they are aiming for world class and their children are 'home-schooled' and practice tennis full-time. Shamirul and his twin-sister Suhana are amongst those full-timers. Scored all As in UPSR and PMR respectively - home school! Similarly, the others are in specially arranged Virtual Schooling Programs associated to several tennis academies or sports schools around the country.
These parents reminds me of our squash sensation Datuk Nickol David and her parents. I'm awaiting their story in full version. I wonder when would sports in this country be treated as businesses so that our children who excels in sports have more opportunities in securing sponsorships as much as can be seen the U.S. and europe. It's for both sports and education.
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MSSD Johor Bahru Level, 5-7 May 2015. The 'Juara Kampung' saga continues ...
Another sports event for JB schools and Abdul Rahim set his debut as a Second Seed of Johor Bahru at the age of 13 for the U-15 category. He got a 'bye' in the first round which sent him straight to the semis.
Trounced Zakhuan (Sek. Sultan Ismail, JB) 8-1 despite his low performance with bags of unforced errors. Then, in the finals he met Saktish of English College Johor Bahru. Inevitably Abdul Rahim didn't play his tournament-style as he usually display in Maju Tennis Malaysia leagues. His services were still not free from double faults but managed a number of aces and led the scoreboard all the way in two sets. Ironically, despite some good shots that went in as winners, he still made silly mistakes for what appeared to be simple high balls in front of the net which was supposed to be easy points.  A state of indecision which are costly when playing against better players. Well he kept his cool and seems to enjoy playing throughout the final with not much pressure from the 15-year old Siktash. Abdul Rahim won 6-3 6-2 and became Johor Bahru U-15 Champion. Well, this in the absence of national seeded player from Pontian, Kluang and Muar who dominates the higher ranking range. Immediately after the medal and certificates presentation by Puan Theressa, a senior teacher from Sek Taman Pelangi, Johor Bahru, Mr. Fauzi immediately gave a schedule for the MSSJ tournament set for 21-23 May 2015.
At this level Abdul Rahim and his JB colleagues shall be challenged by top seeds, especially those from Pontian. Good luck! Saktish is an interesting character for me as he has a good built especially his legs. I spoke to his mother outside the court and asked if he's a runner.
Surprisingly, he has been playing tennis since 10 years old and trained on a weekly basis by a coach whom I used to see at the club. In other words he began tennis at least 2 years earlier than Abdul Rahim. My point is, he didn't picked up that much of competitive tennis from this coach! I stayed silent and listened to his mom with interest. One could see a potential of Del-Potro sort-of built by looking at his picture. The coach who train him was a former Malaysian Davis Cup team way back in the mid-80s under the nose of Dato' Sulaiman Mohd Noh, the same person who brought Johor to win the Malaysia Cup Football title in 1985! Well, a coach who is an ex-competitive payer at the world level is expected to provide good coaching from my perspective. But, this Saktish boy achievement at this point has proved me wrong, unfortunately. I hope he get to train with someone else in addition to the weekly coaching. Otherwise, his current coach should provide avenues for him to play more matches at competitive level. So, the resourcefulness of a coach includes seeking exposure for his students to apply his skills in actual matches. I love the way he run for all return balls but his strokes are apparently having no sting.

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