Newsletter – 01/2008

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On behalf of the executive of the Association may I wish you all very happy, peaceful and tennis filled 2008. As we said in the last newsletter, we have plenty of plans and these will be communicated to you during the year either through Newsletters or by special notices to your clubs. 

CONGRATULATIONS…….to Tarryn Rudman of Marks Park who has been selected to represent South Africa at, firstly, the 2008 African Cup of Nations which will be played in Morocco from 20 to 26 January. This is the 8th time that the event has been held and both singles and doubles will be played. Each player accumulates points for each round that they progress and the top four Nations, at the completion of the singles and doubles,   automatically qualifies for the team event. After that, Tarryn will go to Estonia for the Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 of the 2008 Fed Cup. Seven teams will compete on a Round Robin basis with the eventual top two countries being promoted to Group 1 for 2009.

The full South Africa team for the Fed Cup is Lizaan du Plessis, Elze Potgieter, Kelly Anderson and Tarryn, with Rowena Saunders as the captain. Congrats Tarryn, from all of us on being awarded the highest sporting honour representing your country, and all the best to you in both events.

INTER CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

These will take place alongside the SAA SA Open and the special Wheel Chair event in East London in February and the winners of our Bundes League and Second League will be representing our Province. The teams and players that are going are:

Representing us in the A Division are the winners of Bundes League namely: 

Men – Bedfordview with Damien Hume, Carl Kuschke and Jason Woulfson.

Ladies – Marks Park with Annelie van den Heever, Anna Wysoczarska and Yolande Faver. 

In the B Division we will be represented by:

Men – German Club with David Meyerowitz, Gavin Foulston and Kiall Levendale.

Women – Glenvista Country Club with Laura White, Michelle White and Carol White.

Good luck to all of you and bring back the honours. 

COACHES 

All coaches that are on the Coaches Association register will shortly be receiving a questionnaire. The object of this is explained in the questionnaire but so the club chairmen/club representatives know, the object behind this exercise is as follows:

Firstly, the Coaches Association wishes to update all their records.Secondly, once they have the completed forms, they will then be able to target the correct coaches for the various courses that will be held during the year. Rather than send out a “blanket” notice regarding forthcoming courses, it is felt that a direct approach to the coaches for the course or courses that are applicable to them at that time would be a far better approach.  Along with the Coaches Association, we would like to see all coaches take at least once course during the year to improve their qualifications.

Courses will be held for beginners right through to the top level and we hope that the coaches themselves will embrace this initiative to further their own livelihood.  Tomorrows juniors are only as good as their current coach and if we can improve the coaches’ expertise, then it will follow that their pupils improve to the satisfaction of everyone.  We ask all Club Chairmen to assist us in this approach and ensure that not only the coaches who directly receive the questionnaire complete the form and return it, but if there are other coaches who coach at your club, and who do not receive the form, please ensure that they contact the Coaches Association or our office (011 4025615) and we will give them the contact details. In time we would like to see a complete Register of all club coaches held both by the Coaches Association and ourselves especially as we get a number of calls from parents wanted the name of coaches who live in their area. 

JUNIOR TOURNAMENT

A highly successful tournament was held early in December as well as those in Pretoria and Benoni. Some excellent tennis was played and congratulations to all of you won your age group. Also some of our juniors played in the coastal tournaments and I am sure that they benefited from this experience.

Congratulations to the following Gauteng Central squad players who won their age group at the Ellis Park tournament:

Sipati Malabela –  girls U/12

Vaughan Hunter – boys U/14

Anna Wysoczarska  – girls U/18 

Special mention must be made of Sipati who has come through the ranks of the development programme and has won a title. This is a great encouragement for all our development players to see what can be done through practise, hard work, practise and some more hard work. 

One statistic emerged from the “inland events” that I was amazed by, but in reflection delighted to hear. I met the former coach to the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team, Gavin Siney, who told me that he had 23 children playing at Ellis Park; would have 26 playing in Pretoria and 23 in Benoni.  Now all we hear coming out of that country is strife and turmoil and no mention of people playing sport, bar the cricket team.

Now here we come across a coach who has seven coaches working with him full time in Harare and they do have the ways and means to come down here and compete in our events. I doubt if any of the coaches within our own Province could match those numbers that Gavin brought down here. It is heart warming to hear this sort of story coming out of a country that we just do not associate with a “good news story.” For Zimbabwe tennis this is indeed good news, and we wish Gavin all the best in his continuing efforts to raise the standard of junior tennis in what must be, difficult and at times, trying circumstances. 

Talking of coaches, what a pleasure to see so many of our own coaches watching their charges and encouraging them to play in these events. Often showing interest in their players and accompanying them to tournaments. Let us hope that in future more coaches show this type of dedication to their players, and realize that coaching is not just about the hour a week they spend on court with their pupils, but their commitment should go a lot further. 

JUNIOR SQUAD

We are pleased to announce that Clive Watkinson has been appointed as the junior coach to our squad. Clive brings a wealth of coaching experience to this position and one of his great attributes is his ability to communicate with his pupils. We feel sure that our juniors will benefit from his expertise on a Saturday morning and Clive will also accompany the junior teams to Inter provincial tournaments.

Last Saturday the trophies for the squad players for 2007 were presented and the winners were:

Junior Boy of the year – Vaughan Hunter

Junior Girl of the year –   Kelly Robinson

Senior Boy of the year –  Michau Lizwa

Senior Girl of the year – Lisa Antill

Congratulations to the four of you and may you continue to have success in 2008. 

CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

A number of clubs hold their Championships early in the year and I remind them to contact us in good time if they would like officials from the Umpires Association to assist at their finals.  Just as we as players need practise, so do the umpires, and if we can give them the opportunity of officiating at club championships, regional and district tournaments, they too will improve their standard.

This is a first class opportunity for the clubs to help the Umpires in their quest for better officiating. I know of one club which over the years has used the Umpires Association, and the comments from both the players participating in finals, and the Umpires themselves, that this exercise has been beneficial to both parties. We urge you to support this initiative.

REGISTRATION FEES 

Just a reminder that these are due in respect of all members of your club as at 29 February and payable by no later than 31 March. Fees for all members who join after that date are due as and when they become accepted by your club as members. Don’t forget the new two tier system of fees for 2008.    

                                     SATA PORTION   GCTA PORTION    TOTAL

SOCIAL PLAYER                R 30.00                 R30.00             R60.00

LEAGUE PLAYER              R120.00               R110.00           R230.00 

 Also remember that no club will be allowed to play in a league competition unless registration fees have been paid. This is a SATA ruling, so please don’t shoot the messenger.

AUSTRALIAN OPEN

Can you believe that the first Grand Slam event of the year starts on Monday 14 January? Extensive coverage will be shown on Supersport on Channel 201, so if you suffer from insomnia then this is the place to cure that! There are always surprises early in the season and with the defeat of Andrew Murray in the first round the pattern continues. So watch out for a few more.

There was good news for South Africa as Kevin Anderson came through the tough qualifying draw to make the main draw. Kevin, who came up through the Gauteng Central junior squad won the NCAA doubles title last year in America. His experience gained from tournaments like that and his playing in the College system, has ensured that his tennis has improved and hopefully this is just the beginning of a great 2008 for Kevin. It was just a pity that he could not convert a two set to one lead in that first round match to progress further but his time will come.

Will another Thomas Johanneson win the title or another “unknown” like Marcos Bahdatis reach the final?  Enjoy it all and let us see if the dominance of Roger Federer and Justine Henin continues into the New Year.

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