New tennis pro ready to serve

CHECK OUT THE NEW COACH: Petr Tumpach, of the Czech Republic, is the new coach at Gisborne Tennis Club. He held his first coaching session at the weekend. Picture supplied
Petr Tumpach. Picture by Paul Rickard

GISBORNE Tennis Club’s new professional coach Petr Tumpach says the support of the club’s committee and members made it an easy decision for him to leave Auckland.

“I’d heard so much about Gisborne and its great summers from a friend,” said the 27-year-old former Czech Republic age-group representative.

“I came here about a month ago to talk to the committee and it was raining, but I was impressed with the support from the committee.

“Even though we (he and fiancée Barbora) have only been here a week we’re glad we came.”

Tumpach took his first coaching session here at the weekend. Thirty children aged from five to 12 took part.

“The feedback we’ve received has been really good,” said club secretary Robyn Tomlinson. “They all really enjoyed the session. My eight-year-old daughter hasn’t stopped talking about it.But it wasn’t just the children who had a good time. Some of the parents — former tennis players who brought their kids down — said they would like to get back into the sport.

“It’s a huge boost having Petr here. Numbers have been dwindling and we needed a push in the right direction, and Petr will provide that.

“The club is replacing the lights at a cost of $9000, which means Petr can hold sessions and matches during the evenings.”

Looking forward to extra daylight

Tumpach said he was looking forward to Daylight Saving (September 24) and the new lights.

“At present we have to finish around 6pm but once Daylight Saving comes and we get the lights replaced, we can play much longer.”

In his younger days, Tumpach dreamed of being a top professional tennis player,” the best in the world” but a bout of mononucleosis he contracted at the age of 15 ended those hopes.

“It’s an illness that leaves you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. I just had no energy and while I was getting weaker the others were getting stronger, and around the age of 18 it was time to make a decision on my future. Should I continue trying to make it as a professional or go to university to study (architecture)? . . . uni won.”

Fast forward to this year when Petr and Barbora came to Auckland to study English.

“Auckland is similar to Prague, my home city. It’s big, with lots of people, which is OK, but we wanted to sample life in a provincial city.

“That’s when we heard about Gisborne and we’re really glad we did. We love the ease of transport compared to Auckland and have been blown away by the stunning scenery here and the local hospitality.

Focus on coaching

“We plan to be here until March next year and even though I have never surfed before, one of the players at the club has told me he will take us out to have a go. We’re looking forward to that but for now my focus is on coaching and helping the club whatever way I can.

“I was surprised but happy to see so many young players turn up on Saturday. You can have a lot of fun coaching the young players although I also enjoy doing one-on-one coaching.

“The courts are good, the surfaces are perfect and I’ve just received a speed radar, which can be used for competitions for adults.”

Tumpach will be running club junior events on Saturday mornings and is available during the week for private coaching.

“I’m hoping also to hold coaching camps during the school holidays, depending on numbers.”

Tumpach said while football and ice hockey were the top two sports in his country, tennis was gaining popularity, thanks to the performances of Czech Republic teams in the Davis (men) and Fed (women) cup competitions.

“The men have won the Davis Cup twice and the women have won the Fed Cup five of the past six years.

“Until she was beaten in the US Open, Karolina Pliskova was ranked No.1 women in the world.

“These results have been important for the growth of tennis in our country.”

Although proud of his countrymen and women, Tumpach said his favourite player was Switzerland’s Roger Federer, followed by Rafael Nadal.

GISBORNE Tennis Club’s new professional coach Petr Tumpach says the support of the club’s committee and members made it an easy decision for him to leave Auckland.

“I’d heard so much about Gisborne and its great summers from a friend,” said the 27-year-old former Czech Republic age-group representative.

“I came here about a month ago to talk to the committee and it was raining, but I was impressed with the support from the committee.

“Even though we (he and fiancée Barbora) have only been here a week we’re glad we came.”

Tumpach took his first coaching session here at the weekend. Thirty children aged from five to 12 took part.

“The feedback we’ve received has been really good,” said club secretary Robyn Tomlinson. “They all really enjoyed the session. My eight-year-old daughter hasn’t stopped talking about it.But it wasn’t just the children who had a good time. Some of the parents — former tennis players who brought their kids down — said they would like to get back into the sport.

“It’s a huge boost having Petr here. Numbers have been dwindling and we needed a push in the right direction, and Petr will provide that.

“The club is replacing the lights at a cost of $9000, which means Petr can hold sessions and matches during the evenings.”

Looking forward to extra daylight

Tumpach said he was looking forward to Daylight Saving (September 24) and the new lights.

“At present we have to finish around 6pm but once Daylight Saving comes and we get the lights replaced, we can play much longer.”

In his younger days, Tumpach dreamed of being a top professional tennis player,” the best in the world” but a bout of mononucleosis he contracted at the age of 15 ended those hopes.

“It’s an illness that leaves you feeling tired and weak for weeks or months. I just had no energy and while I was getting weaker the others were getting stronger, and around the age of 18 it was time to make a decision on my future. Should I continue trying to make it as a professional or go to university to study (architecture)? . . . uni won.”

Fast forward to this year when Petr and Barbora came to Auckland to study English.

“Auckland is similar to Prague, my home city. It’s big, with lots of people, which is OK, but we wanted to sample life in a provincial city.

“That’s when we heard about Gisborne and we’re really glad we did. We love the ease of transport compared to Auckland and have been blown away by the stunning scenery here and the local hospitality.

Focus on coaching

“We plan to be here until March next year and even though I have never surfed before, one of the players at the club has told me he will take us out to have a go. We’re looking forward to that but for now my focus is on coaching and helping the club whatever way I can.

“I was surprised but happy to see so many young players turn up on Saturday. You can have a lot of fun coaching the young players although I also enjoy doing one-on-one coaching.

“The courts are good, the surfaces are perfect and I’ve just received a speed radar, which can be used for competitions for adults.”

Tumpach will be running club junior events on Saturday mornings and is available during the week for private coaching.

“I’m hoping also to hold coaching camps during the school holidays, depending on numbers.”

Tumpach said while football and ice hockey were the top two sports in his country, tennis was gaining popularity, thanks to the performances of Czech Republic teams in the Davis (men) and Fed (women) cup competitions.

“The men have won the Davis Cup twice and the women have won the Fed Cup five of the past six years.

“Until she was beaten in the US Open, Karolina Pliskova was ranked No.1 women in the world.

“These results have been important for the growth of tennis in our country.”

Although proud of his countrymen and women, Tumpach said his favourite player was Switzerland’s Roger Federer, followed by Rafael Nadal.

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