Our new club reporter Josh Kane is just back from rubbing shoulders with the best tennis players in the world after working at Wimbledon as a broadcast assistant. He was in charge of all interviews and camera set-ups at the All England Club. From now on he’ll be one of the people bringing you news, views and interviews throughout the season. Here’s his take on what the Newmains United players can learn from the kings of the courts when they step onto the pitch.
“FOR the past couple of weeks I’ve been immersed in Novak Djokovic‘s return to tennis’ top table.
“Now I can’t wait to report on Newmains as they attempt to serve up a resurgence too.
“I’m one of the reporters who’ll be covering United this season as Craig Guppy and Paul Davies’ team take to the field.
“But my job during the week is filming from behind the camera – and that took me to the green, green grass of Wimbledon.
“Roaming around the pristine courts of SW19 and indulging myself in kilos of strawberries and cream was a huge privilege.
“Seeing the likes of Djokovic, Rafa Nadal, and Roger Federer up close provided a fascinating insight into how world-class sports people go about their business.
“The high rollers, fancy hats and gallons of Pimms consumed at the All England Club might seem a million miles away from Victoria Park.
“But why can’t Djokovic’s relentless quest for glory be used as inspiration by the guys at Newmains?
“The real focus lies with each individual athlete who graces the hallowed Wimbledon turf.
“With one of the warmest tournaments on record, players were up against a number of elements that strongly affected certain competitors’ performances.
“I witnessed the longest-ever recorded semi-final between John Isner and Kevin Anderson, who battled things out on court for a gruelling six hours and 35 minutes.
“That put into real perspective the fitness and mental strength of these players. It was something Djokovic needed in spades too as he took his fourth Wimbledon title.
“Like me, he’d sat through that Isner/Anderson match before his semi-final chance arrived.
“He then had to play three hours against Nadal before being told the game would be suspended and picked up the next day.
“Djokovic eventually defeated Nadal after five-and-a-quarter hours.
“With the final less than 24 hours away recovery and physical preparation would be key for the Serbian.
“The fact he blew away Anderson in straight sets summed up the sort of athlete he is – and the will to win he boasts.
“Football might be a team game. But like tennis it relies on individual fitness and a mental stability which is earned through hard work.
“I looked on from outside the ropes as the Newmains players were put through their paces by the unforgiving boxing strength and conditioning trainer George Fleming recently.
“That sweat-stained morning alone demonstrated the group aren’t just determined on improving their own fitness.
“There’s also a desire to encourage those around them that shows the spirit running through the squad for this season.
“Djokovic had to put in all the hard yards to ensure he was in the right shape to go the distance.
“Now Newmains are doing the same as they put in the hard graft during their pre-season.
“With the nets at Wimbledon packed away, it’s time for the nets to go up on the goal frames again.
“I’ll take a pie over a bowl of strawberries and cream any day too!
“Hope to see you at Victoria Park soon.”