SAA SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN
By the time you read this the above tournament will be under way in East London. Let’s hope that the notorious wind conditions do not spoil the event as anyone who has played tennis at Selbourne Park will know that a lob played on court 3 can easily end up on court 6!!
At the time of writing this, six South Africans had been accepted into the main draw and with the qualifying event still to take place let’s hope that this number increases. Ivan Ljubcic will, no doubt, be the top seed. Here is a man who is trying to resuscitate his falling career after being instrumental in the rise in Croatian tennis over the years.
Also taking place in East London alongside the Open, is the Club Championships, and we wish Bedfordview and Marks Park all the best in the main section of the event and German Club and Glenvista in the second tier.
Congratulations to Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie in their great efforts in getting to the semi finals of the men’s doubles in the Australian Open. A great start to the year for them, and let’s hope that this is the forerunner to greater things in 2008. Jeff has now moved to number 25 on the doubles ranking list, just two places below his all time high of 23 in February 2003. Wesley has moved up to 38.
Kevin Anderson made it to the main draw having come through a tough qualifying event but did not get past the first round, but the confidence he gained from having made it into a Grand Slam event should see him progress further this year. Following that success Kevin moved to 190 on the ranking list but has since slipped back to now be at 192.
What a pleasure to see 84 juniors at the squad practise last Saturday. This is indeed extremely satisfying and will ensure that the coaches, Clive Watkinson and Darren Styles are kept just a little busy throughout the morning!! Seriously, this is great for Gauteng tennis as the base is broad and this gives us a solid platform from which to work.
In case you missed the last announcement, the junior inter provincial will be held in Bloemfontein, with the under 12 and 14 event taking place from 26 to 29 April, and the under 16 and 18 event from 1 to 4 May.
You all should have received notification regarding the dates of the various leagues run under our control for 2008. Most important was the date that entries close for the various leagues as with the reintroduction of the league fixture books, thanks to the support from Dunlop, we have to allow extra time for printing. The first league is the popular Combined League and entries close on 31 March. The entry forms will be sent out during the week beginning 11 February so no excuses for not entering.
Please remember the SATA ruling that registration fees have to be paid before your entry into the league can be accepted. If you have not received an entry form by, say 20 February, please contact the office on 011 4025615.
We are rapidly approaching the time for the staging of tournaments both for seniors and juniors. The Marks Park Junior Grand Prix is scheduled for 30 March to 2 April followed by the Slazenger Gauteng Central Super 7 from 7 to 10 April. For the seniors, the ever popular Marks Park Open will be staged on 20th, 26th, 27th and 28th April.
We are presently assisting the University of Johannesburg in organising an under 18 Invitational event, and a separate notice regarding this addition to our calendar will be sent to you when all the details are finalized. Also we are presently trying to organize an additional tournament for our senior players which will be held over two weekends in May. Again once all our ducks are in a row, we will be advising the clubs.
ARTHUR ASHE CENTRE
One of, if not our main project this year is to see the Arthur Ashe Centre revived. We have inspected the site and the surrounds, and have had tentative meetings with Johannesburg City Council regarding ways and means to reactivate the centre. Two coaches have been appointed, and other plans, although very much at the embryo stage as we write, are exciting to us. We are sure there is an untapped reservoir of talent there and along with the most magnificent library you have ever seen, the centre can be used for the sporting and educational benefit to all the children in that area. Again, we will advise you of developments as and when they occur in that area.