Simon Rea will take lessons from rowing, sailing and cycling in his bid to put New Zealand tennis back on the world stage.

Rea, who is best known for masterminding Nick Kyrgios' rise up the ATP ladder, was announced on Monday as the new high performance director of Tennis NZ.

His role will oversee every level, from the elite players on the professional tour, to the aspiring 11-year-old junior at a regional tournament.

Rea has great credentials - he was recognised as one of the best coaches in the Tennis Australia stable when he left last September after almost nine years in Melbourne - and will need them.


It's hard to think of a more challenging role in New Zealand sport; Tennis NZ receives no funding from High Performance Sport New Zealand, local players are geographically isolated from the hotbeds of the sport and rugby and cricket tend to scoop up the best junior athletes in this country.

But the former Davis Cup representative is positive, saying that lack of resourcing shouldn't be an impediment.

"There are examples from other sports in New Zealand where resourcing can be a challenge but it hasn't prevented us from punching well above our weight," Rea told the New Zealand Herald.

"Anything is possible and I want to bring a possibility mindset to the job. Look at rowing, sailing, cycling...they have had sustainable success for a long period of time and have well funded programs but that wasn't always the case. Those chutes of success were bourne out of something else. From humble beginnings things can grow and I'm not sure that money is the panacea."

Only time will tell how right he is, but Monday's announcement was a significant boost for Tennis NZ.

There have been various other individuals fill similar roles over the last decade, but none with the mix of high level experience, skills and integrity that Rea brings to the job.

After hanging up his racquet, he quickly progressed up the ranks at Tennis Australia, and was ranked as one of their top coaches after taking Nick Kyrgios from World No840 to No66.

"It's great for us," said Tennis NZ CEO Steve Johns. "Guys like him are usually snapped up pretty quickly by players or other federations."


Rea says he fielded some offers from player agents but the Tennis NZ position was the "right place at the right time".

"It's a great opportunity but also a significant responsibility," said Rea, who will spend the next few months assessing the state of the game, ahead of Tennis NZ next strategic plan (to be launched in July 2017).

"It's a blank canvas," said Rea. "It's maybe an advantage I haven't been immersed in Kiwi tennis for the last eight or nine years; it's a fresh set of eyes, no preconceived ideas and the ability to build something from the ground up.

"As a one man band I can't come in and turn everything around. But I can roll the sleeves up and apply some or all of what I have learned over the journey. I want to build a culture of Kiwis competing on the world stage that we can be proud of. We know there are some inherent challenges to get to that level but let's see how far we can push the envelope."