IM this article to a friend!

January 3, 2005

U.S. team sharpens skills for main game

From: Ballarat Courier, Australian - Jan 3 2005

A SELECTION of Ballarat's leading tennis players put the United State's team through its paces in the countdown to the 2005 Melbourne Deaflympics at the Indoor Tennis Centre yesterday.

The visitors, who have been based in the city for their training camp, begin competition at the Boroondara Tennis Centre on Thursday.

Head coach Roy Trafalski said he was very happy with his team's preparation.

Players trained on the same surface they will encounter at Boroondara, artificial grass, and Trafalski it was an advantage.

"But we will be playing outdoors, which will make a dramatic difference," he said.

Trafalski, who has not seen the form of many rival teams, said it was difficult to predict how the Americans would fair during the Deaflympics.

"I saw a few Australian deaf players, and they looked very solid. We will have our hands full," he said.

Trafalski said he believed tennis was a wonderful sport for deaf athletes to pursue.

"What's cool about tennis is hearing and language doesn't matter," he said.

"You could be from China or Brazil and still get out and hit a ball. There's no whistles or bells.

"That's not to say players can't succeed at other sports, but it's more of a chore if you need to be aware of a whistle or a foul or an ending bell."

Trafalski said the only exception to his thoughts about tennis was the let serve.

Ballarat Indoor Tennis Centre manager Rob Benoit said the practice matches had provided valuable experiences for all involved.

© Copyright 2000 by Rural Press Ltd and its subsidiaries and affiliates.