SINGAPORE: Sixteen months into his two-year contract, Singapore Tennis Association's (STA) coach, Paul Dale, is moving on.
The Kiwi, who started work in January 2012, will coach till the end of April.
Replacing him is Slovenian Tomaz Mercinger, who worked with Dale in Thailand previously.
Dale was brought in to help STA's half-a-million-dollar programme to groom champions.He is leaving to pursue another opportunity, travelling and coaching India's rising tennis star, K U Singh.
Dale claims to have exceeded the targets set since his arrival, and thinks his departure would not be disruptive. He said: "There is maybe a change of gear needed, anyway, because when I came in, there was a certain role. I had to develop and build and pretty much go back to the basics and build it through. It took about six or seven months before any results occurred and then the results started to come quickly."
The improvements have been substantial, as the boys' rankings got better - from 2200 plus to the 500-600 range. From here, the climb gets steeper and the new coach's skills as a mental specialist, critical.
Tomaz Mercinger said: "They have to become aware of their emotional state and be able to control it. They have to become aware of certain mental traps that happen in tennis, like, for example, if you are leading too much you might relax too much. It's a trap and the opponent will catch up and stuff like that."
Most of the charges are resigned to the change, hoping it will be for the better.
"The coach has to get to know us and catch up with what the other coach has left off with. Our weaknesses and stuff...he has to learn what our weaknesses are," said tennis player Isaac Ong.
On the bright side, three more players have just joined the original 2012 quartet.
To date, about S$280,000 from the S$500,000 has already been spent. But the Singapore Tennis Association says it is going to pump in another $100,000 and is also getting parents and players to help with the fundraising so that the programme continues. - CNA/ir