Rallying myself after short-term pain will serve an epic cause

I'm not sure how I manage to get myself into these situations but I seem to have done it again.

Ten thousand shots, no mistakes, five hours of constant hitting of a tennis ball back and forward . . . I think it's safe to say I may be visiting the nearest physiotherapist after this longest rally attempt.

I have four weeks left to make sure that local talent Bridget Dickins and I are prepared for this epic tennis marathon.

In terms of tennis, though, this is a great opportunity to showcase our sport.

The US Open began this week, with Roger Federer once again the top seed for one of his favourite tournaments. Federer will be tough to beat but I am sure Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will rate their chances against the great Swiss maestro.

Picking a winner in the women's draw is usually more difficult, but with Serena Williams' dominance at the London Olympics, she would have to be the favourite. It is also the fantastic Kim Clijsters' final tournament as a professional tennis player, so I hope this great servant of tennis bows out on a high note.

■ There is a lot of tennis happening in Manawatu schools, with Grasshoppers tennis being introduced to about 4000 of our children in four local primary schools.

In four weeks, there will be a primary schools tournament at the Manawatu Lawn Tennis Club, for children of all abilities, featuring both open grades and novice grades. It's always a great introduction to the competitive aspect of the sport, so I'm looking forward to seeing some new faces at the courts giving the sport a go.

As the winter sports season winds up and the weather starts to improve, there will be an influx of lcoals wanting to know what is available for them or their children in terms of summer sport.

■ Most clubs will be conducting their open and registration days during the next month in the lead-up to the summer season.

There have been a few new developments with the junior and senior interclub competitions, which should create more opportunities..

The introduction of men's grades will allow for the surplus male players to play competitive tennis at all levels.

The junior competitions are also being aligned to cater for the differing levels of junior players at various ages. Changes that needed to be made have been, as the Tennis Manawatu Association and the local club delegates managed to agree upon some slight structural variations to the these interclub competitions.

Fingers crossed, the rain will ease and the wind will be gentle as we look forward to getting some practice in before the summer season begins.

Jono Spring is the Manawatu Lawn Tennis Club's professional coach and an enthusiast for the sport.

Manawatu Standard