To our two junior girls who won National titles at the recent Junior Nationals in Bloemfontein. Tracy Plant won the under 16 title and Veronique Luksich took the under 18 title ensuring that the title stayed in Gauteng Central for the second year in a row.
Tracy was seeded fourth but had a great tournament by first beating the second seed Sarah Ive (Border) and then in the final, the top seed Gauteng North’s Wilma Luus 63 62. Tracy is steeped in tennis with her mother, formerly Rene Uys, having won the under 18 title and campaigned successfully on the world tour. It was just sad that her prominent years in tennis coincided with our isolation so Rene never had the chance to play Federation Cup.
Veronique is our new National Junior Champion and fully justified her top seeding and beat Jade Pondicas (Gauteng East) in one of the most closely contested finals for years. Veronique finally edged home 63 36 75 and our CONGRATULATIONS go to both our young players.
It could so easily have been three titles as Kelsey Joffe was runner up in the under 12 age group. Kelsey beat the second seed Nelise Verster (OFS) in the semi final but was undone by the top seed Theresa van Zyl (Northern Cape) in the final but it was a great effort and tournament for her.
So, boys are you feeling “put out” as it was a definite case of GIRL POWER in Bloemfontein. Next year we hope that the success of the girls makes the boys try and emulate their success.
To Roger Federer. In the last Newsletter I asked how badly he wanted the number 1 ranking back. Well, judging by his performance at the US Open the answer is, very much. What a geat win coming off what has been a relatively poor season for him but the old determination seemed to be back in a number of matches that he played. Also, well done to Andrew Murray on reaching his first Grand Slam final. Surely he will win one in the not too distant future. He has a totally different game to the majority of other players and this makes him a more difficult player to beat. So is the long wait since 1936 for Britain to have a Grand Slam winner soon to be over? May be if the improvement in his play continues at this rate.
Hardly before summer really arrived the league was played and well done to Marks Park on “doing the double” of winning both the men’s and ladies Bundes League titles.
The men dethroned Bedfordview, who finished as runners up. Marks Park had not only strength in depth with the two Anderson brothers, Andrew and Paul, but also Werner Knuppe which proved to be a solid and powerful top three. Then add the experience of Wayne Faver, a long standing and loyal servant to the club, and you can see why they were a tough team to beat. The clash between them and Bedfordview was always going to be the critical match to decide the outcome of the title and the titanic struggle saw Marks Park edge home by winning two of the three doubles. By such narrow margins are champions crowned.
The ladies side contained many a Rudman, a name synonymous with South African tennis over the years, and what a delight it is to see that the siblings carry on in the footsteps of their illustrious fathers’.
The rest of the leagues went well but a couple of observations that will be looked at when next years Rules are drawn up. To give clubs plenty of warning, we will be requesting that when clubs claim a “walk over” they must submit the team that would have played the fixture on the score sheet to validate such a “walk over.” Sadly, we found that one club claimed a “walk over” and one of the players who had previously played in that side then played for a lower side which is not in the true spirit of league.
We noticed that clubs are not filling in the score sheets with full details of player’s names. You would be surprised at the number of score sheets that contained only Christian names!! Full names must be recorded on all score sheets in future.
Congratulations to all section winners and we look forward to the Mixed League which started this past weekend.
We are sure that you will have seen the announcement that South Africa has been allocated a week on the ATP Tour. This is good news for South African tennis as any International event that is staged here can only enhance the interest in the game. The tournament will take place at Monte Casino from 2 February 2009 and we hope that a strong International field can be attracted along with our own top players.
Before that, two ITF Futures tournaments will take place in Pretoria from 18 October. These events are the “nursery” tournaments on the overall scale of tournaments but a vital and necessary proving ground for aspiring players. It will give our local players the opportunity of gaining points to set them on their way into the bigger world of the ATP Tour itself.
Also announced is the holding of the SA Closed from 1-8 November. This event will be held at the Wanderers Club and the upshot of these events coming onto the calendar at this late stage means that we have had to postpone our own Slazenger Gauteng Open as those players who would have entered our event will want the opportunity of playing in these three events.
It is sad that we are unable to hold our own major championship tournament but the needs of South African tennis as a whole must take preference.
Please note that the office has secured a very good deal with Dunslaz to sell Dunlop Fort tennis balls to the clubs at R850.00 per case which will benefit both the clubs and the Province. Please phone (011) 402-5615 in the mornings to organise payment and collection.
DEVELOPMENTS AT ELLIS PARK
These are on going and further meetings have been held with representatives of Johannesburg City Council as well as the Project Manager on site. It is anticipated that the road works will not be completed before the end of March 2009, well in time for the Confederations Cup football which is set for June.
To our mind we are moving forward although there is nothing concrete (excuse the pun) to show or see within the tennis grounds themselves. We are part of a much bigger picture being 2010 football World Cup, but as we have proved to the Council, we are an integral part of the whole Prescint.
We have been told that the Fuller Park to the East of the grounds, will also be upgraded with a new cricket stadium being accommodated, and also upgrading of various Community Projects that are currently being run in that area.
SATA WORKSHOP FOR JUNIOR AND SENIOR TENNIS
This workshop was held over the weekend of 11 and 12 October to see what improvements could be made to both junior and senior tennis to make them more attractive and better structured in the light of events and happenings on the world stage. Another aspect that was looked at was how to accommodate players after they leave the junior ranks. As we all know there are very few opportunities for players to compete in tournaments after they leave the junior ranks. This obviously leads to players turning their attention and skills to other sports or past times, and has been a concern for many a year.
The results of this workshop will be interesting to read and hopefully will benefit all players whether aspiring juniors or those over the age of 18 wanting more competitive tennis.
As soon as we hear anything concrete from the workshop we will advise you all. It is in the interests of tennis in South Africa as a whole that we not only have a strong, unified and competitive junior structure, but that this is carried on for senior players.
Competition is healthy, good competition is even better and let us hope that the results of the workshop lead to that in all aspects of tennis in South Africa.