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Win 'Special' for Captain Nagar

Posted: 08-Sep-2015 by Tennis

Asaf Nagar in action at the net, earlier this year

The majority of competition tennis players will never have the opportunity in their playing career to experience winning a Pennant.  Prior to 2015, Maccabi's inspirational leader Asaf Nagar had been desperately unlucky in his Pennant career - playing in four Pennant Grand Finals (two for Maccabi and two for Dendy Park), but finishing runners-up on all four occasions. However, the experienced Nagar was finally able to savour the spoils of a "special" victory on Saturday, leading his side to a comprehensive Grand Final win over Grace Park and claim the Grade 3 Pennant.

Nagar was born in the northern Israeli city of Haifa but lived and trained in the nearby city of Kiryat Motzkin, under the tutelage of Liav Cohen. 

As a junior, he represented Israeli national teams and competed in tournaments in Israel and Europe.  An elite talent, Nagar was ranked 2nd in Israel in the 14 and under age group and was consistently in the top 8 players in Israel for his age group throughout his junior playing days.  Nagar spoke of the "pride and honour" he felt in being able to represent his country at such a young age. 

A certified physiotherapist, he moved to Melbourne in 2004 and has been playing for Maccabi since 2011. In four out of five seasons with Maccabi, Nagar has qualified with his team for finals.  Nagar is also the Head Coach at the Club and is Director of Trademark Tennis, the coaching business he established together with friend and fellow Maccabi Club legend, the late Paul Arber.

ASAF NAGAR

This was your third Grand Final appearance in five years with Maccabi and you have experienced success with other clubs. How does the feeling compare to other seasons, and particularly, after last year?

To be honest, this was my first flag! I have lost four times in the Grand Final (twice playing for Dendy Park in Grade 1 and twice representing Maccabi in Grades 2 & 3). The feeling is special because of all the support we got from the people around us. Everyone who came to see us had to give up their Saturdays to come and support us and I think we had around 40-50 people coming to support us in the Grand Final. I don't think there is any other team or club that had the same level of support.
Also, representing Maccabi and a Jewish club is very special because of the sense of community so i can definitely say it was a very special moment to win that flag!

How have you found the experience of being Captain?

Well, my teammates made my work as a captain very easy as everyone got along really well and there were no issues at all. I think everyone in our team became good friends in the [past] two years we have played together so I'm very proud of that as well.

Why do you think the team was successful?

As i said, everyone in the team got along well and supported each other. We used to have our regular hit on Thursday nights at the Club to keep fit and work on a few things. The combination between the more experienced players, like Assaf [Drori] and me, and the young players like Arthur [Kaganovitch] and Jarred [Krowitz], worked well as we could help them with advice. Joel [Fredman] and Rob [Minc] were a big help as well.

What are your thoughts on the performance of the team throughout the season and in the Finals?

The season went well, even though we didn't have our strong team available for most of the time because we had six players in the team and injuries. We managed to finish first on the ladder, which gave us the home court advantage up until the Grand Final. During the finals, we tried to play our strongest possible team and it worked well. I honestly think that we were the best team in the grade and deserved to win the flag.

What does it mean to you to represent and play for Maccabi?

For me personally, it means a lot. We are living in Australia and my family and I try to keep our identity as Jews here. I always encourage my kids and my friends' children to play for Maccabi so it only feels natural for me to do the same. As the Head Coach of the Club and a member of the Club Committee, I feel it is a big honour to represent the Club and the Jewish community in Melbourne.

Your team has a mix of experience and youth. What can you say about the future for Maccabi tennis?

As I said before, I think that the combination of youth and experience worked well in our team. We have great young players in the Club like Arthur Kaganovitch, Max [Needleman], Leor [Bar] and a lot more that can lead the club in the future to more success.

 

MARCUS FRAJMAN

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