Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Game, Set, Match with Coach Diaz

I read In Dawgged Pursuit a few weeks ago and was eager to post something on it, but couldn't find the interview on the actual website. If you're a USTA member in the Atlanta area, you probably have already had the pleasure of reading it in print. I doubt if it made the other regional issues of Inside Tennis, but after reading it a second time...I sure hope so.

Manny Diaz is not just a great coach and leader, but a true ambassador for the University of Georgia. I don't know how many tennis fans I serve here, but all Dawg fans can easily become Diaz fans. I've included some excerpts from the interview below, but you should check it out in its entirety.


InsideTennis: The history and fanfare of Wimbledon is great. Roland Garros has Paris, and the U.S. Open is an event like no other. But there’s nothing quite like an NCAA team final — six matches going on at the same time, fans yelling. What makes the atmosphere so special?
Coach DiazManny Diaz: You’ve got kids playing with such heart, such enthusiasm. You can pick a match to watch from the six that are going on. Three doubles matches. You see great variety. It’s a little more “rah-rah.” It’s a zoo. It’s a jungle. It’s that kind of passion for the game that you see in college matches.

IT: For those who haven’t experienced May Madness on the Georgia campus before, how would you describe it?
MD: Our crowds were really, really rowdy when we started hosting the NCAAs. We hosted them now for 25, 27 years in the past 30 years. In the beginning, our crowd was basically a football crowd — the Deep South in the early ‘70s. But the more we hosted it, the more our fans became tennis fans, the more they became educated from just wild, football fans to being more informed. While our fans are right now many in numbers — we’ve got over 6,000 fans out there for the NCAA Championships — our fans are much more educated and tennis savvy than they used to be.


If you’ve never been to an NCAA tennis match, check one out this spring at Dan Magill Tennis Complex. It’s nothing like what you see on television as you watch Wimbledon or the US Open. The atmosphere is electric, an organized rowdiness that is closer to Saturdays in the fall than it is a fortnight in London.

And this interview with Coach Diaz really paints the picture. The excerpt above barely scratches the surface Reader. Diaz goes on to make any Dawg fan proud with the way he talks about Athens and the University of Georgia. He also analyzes John Isner’s rise in the ATP rankings…and gives Inside Tennis his all-time Georgia lineup.

Great read.

Some related links:


Anonymous said...

It's really too bad that the tennis programs (both men's and women's) don't get the attention they deserve. Manny Diaz has done a brilliant job at UGA and he and his tennis Dawgs deserve their due!

Cannot find my copy, but pretty sure this article did not appear in the Southern California version of the mag.. They NEVER mention UGA which bothers me to no end. I don't even think they wrote about UGA's 2007 and 2008 national championships. If they did, it was in a buried blurb.

Ally said...

Fantastic link-thanks so much for sharing! The piece he did w/ Isner at the Australian Open was spectacular too. His love for UGA comes close to matching Dan Magill's i dare say. Which explains why he atracts the respect and admiration of tennis greats including both McEnroe brothers.

With all the things we as fans (i'm convicting myself here) find fault in our Coaches at times, it's interviews like this that make me realize how truly blessed we are.

No place like the University of Georgia. Amen :)

RB Dawg said...

Coach Diaz is a class act all the way - ask anybody that ever played on one of his teams - he is like a father figure to all his players. It's good to see Coach Diaz get some press here on the blogs. Thanks for the article - good read.

Bernie said...

Thanks for the comments and glad you all enjoyed that interview as much as I did. Your additional thoughts remind me that I should've added that Diaz is as great an ambassador for the sport of tennis as he is UGA. He had HUGE shoes to fill (Coach Magill is up there above Dooley in my book) when he took over and has only made our tennis program the envy of every athletic program around.

I just wish he would come coach up my partner and I. We could really use his help tonight. ;)