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Florida coach on vacation helps out national tennis players

Coach Cliff Snider (right) stands next to Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit as he explains the importance of the American's methodology after a session at the Olympic Stadium courts in Phnom Penh on Thursday. Supplied
Coach Cliff Snider (right) stands next to Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit as he explains the importance of the American's methodology after a session at the Olympic Stadium courts in Phnom Penh on Thursday. Supplied

Florida coach on vacation helps out national tennis players

A tennis coach from Florida who worked for six years in the 1980s with the legendary Australian player and coach Harry Hopman at his Largo academy chose to spend his time sharing his expertise and experiences with a group of national senior and junior team members while on vacation in Cambodia.

Cliff Snider took a break from his work at a small country club in the Sunshine State to travel to the Kingdom, and he lost no time in rushing to Olympic Stadium just after the Khmer New Year break to hold a session with some of the national players.

Having read about Tennis Cambodia and seen some videos before his trip, he was eager to help the Federation in some way during his holiday.

That irresistible urge to do his bit for Tennis Cambodia brought him back nearly a week later to the courts again on Thursday morning, as the secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia, Tep Rithivit, joined the session to watch at close quarters Snider’s methodology and simplicity of coaching.

“We are very thankful to have Cliff Snider come out and help us after hearing about our programmes here. For him to do this while on holiday is something remarkable. That shows that the thought of tennis is never too far away from him all the time. We are highly appreciative of his advice,” Rithivit said.

“I think it’s great to see his style of teaching, and we sure will try to implement some of his style in our own initiatives as we groom the next batch of national team players for the Kingdom.”

Davis Cup dominance

Snider worked under Hopman, an outstanding Australian player who captained his country in the Davis Cup from 1938-1939 and 1950-1969, at his academy in the United States from 1980-1986 in Largo, Florida at the Bardmoor Country Club, which had no less than 42 tennis courts.

“On all 42 courts under Harry [Hopman], the methodology would be the same, and that is what I hope Tennis Cambodia can achieve with its programmes here,” said Snider, referring to the effectiveness of utilising a one-system method.

Hopman won the Davis Cup with Australia in 1939, 1950-53, 1955-57, 1959-62 and 1964-67

After Hopman passed away in December 1985 at the age of 79, Snider left the academy and moved to the Netherlands to coach at an academy there, where he adopted the same coaching style he had learned from working with Hopman.

“Now that we have established this contact and have got to know him well, I am confident this relationship will grow and we continue to benefit from his invaluable guidance. My first thought was: how many coaches in the world would do this on their vacation?” said Davis Cup player and head of Junior Development Phalkun Mam

“For someone to take this personal interest and offer advice as Snider has done shows his deep commitment to tennis and also his compassion for Tennis Cambodia and its programmes.”

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