Firstly sincere apologies for the lack of communication from us over the past few months but am very pleased to say that thanks to two wonderful doctors and a caring staff at the hospital I am back on my feet after spending almost all of April and some of May in hospital, but slowly we make progress on a daily basis.
Still not up to returning to the tennis court bar hitting with my grandson but that is becoming increasingly more difficult such is his progress, and bar the driving range the golf course is also “out of bounds” for a while longer. But we will get there….soon.
Pride of place must go to Roger Federer having now joined that elite group of players who have won all four Grand Slam titles and now equalled Pete Sampras with 14 GS titles in all. With the confidence gained from finally having got “the monkey off his back”, who is to say he will not go on and regain his Wimbledon title and make him the possibly the best player ever. That is a subjective subject I know, but he would rightly lay claim to that if he does win his 15th Grand Slam title.
Cynics may say that he did not have to play Nadal, Murray or Djokovic but you play the cards you are dealt and what with nerve racking wins over Haas and del Potro plus two other four hour matches, he did not exactly have it all his own way.
…..to Wesley Moodie in being runner up in the French Open mens doubles with Dick Norman who at 38 is surely in the twilight of his career, but to beat the Bryan Brothers after having lost the first set without winning a game, was a huge result. So near to adding his second Grand Slam trophy to his cabinet but he did then go on and win two doubles titles, firstly at Queens and then in Holland for an ideal run up to Wimbledon.
On the other side of the coin, it was once again disappointing to have only one representative in both the singles draws at the French. Chanel Scheepers battled her way through the qualifying event to make it, but sadly lost in the first round. She did, however, make it to the quarter finals of the girls event. And even sadder was the fact that none of our players could manage a win in the qualifying event for Wimbledon. All three men and one lady lost in the first round. Andy Murray said it was “not acceptable” that only two British players reached the second round at Wimbledon. We could say the same that no South Africans actually made it to Wimbledon in the singles events.
IMPROVEMENTS AT ELLIS PARK.
At long last we can say that the road works around the Grounds have almost been completed and we have our own entrance back in place. With the Confederations Cup now a thing of the past, the Prescint was ready to host the matches. From all accounts the matches went off well bar some problems with the Park N Ride which will need “fine tuning” before 2010.
We have our own entrance back but it is now situated in Bertrams Road and not off Erin Street as in the past. However, the entrance into the parking area along side Standard Bank Arena can still be used as the road around to our offices has been reconstructed and now in use.
Having had a good look around the Prescint this morning I can say that the difference from the “old days” is amazing. The Council have done an incredible job in not only smartening up the area, but with the advent of the new Coca Cola Park (the new name for Ellis Park in case you had not heard) Parkade, the security for visitors to the area for functions has improved 1000 fold.
We are still in negotiations with both the management at Coca Cola Park, Johannesburg City Council and the Johannesburg Development Agency as regards the upgrading of the Grounds and buildings, but sadly, the wheels turn slowly. We must say though that progress is being made and we feel confident that we can move forward on this matter.
I realize that it was some time ago but our juniors did extremely well in their Inter Provincial tournament. In Bloemfontein they held the under 14 and 18 event and both sides finished 5th. In Pretoria, where the under 14 and 16s’ played along with the B sides of the under 14 and 18, we won the under 12, under 16 and under 18 event and were runners up in the under 14. WELL DONE TO YOU ALL.
Saturday squad is extremely pleasing with over 75 players attending each week. This is gratifying as these are the future players of the Province and this sort of number bodes well not only for next years Junior Inter Provincial sides, but tennis in general in the Province.
We would like to encourage clubs to use these juniors in our Summer League which commences towards the end of August as the experience they will get playing more senior people will be invaluable for them not only in later years but for the rest of their Junior days.
NATIONAL CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS.
These are to be held in Durban at Westridge Park from 22 – 26 July and representing us will be Marks Park in both the mens and ladies A section with Boskruin ladies playing in the B section. We wish them well, enjoy the occasion and fly the flag for your province.
Good news indeed for South African tennis with the advent of the new sponsorship deal announced by KeyHealth earlier this month.
They have committed themselves for the next three years and the money will be used for Davis Cup, Juniors and Development.
They have already been partners to SATA this year with the SA Open and Davis Cup but this long term contract is exactly what is needed to enable the game to grow.
The Executive congratulate SATA in securing this sponsorship and we all hope that this will be the forerunner of a longer term relationship with KeyHealth. I will refrain from saying it could the “key” to our future!!
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
This will be held at the Old Edwardian Club on 12 August and a formal notice will be sent to you all in the near future but we ask the club chairmen and representatives to diarise this date now.
HEARD ON THE GRAPEVINE
We are hoping that two big events will be staged at Ellis Park, one later this year and the other next year. Both should be of major interest to all tennis lovers and as soon as the official announcements have been made, we will let you have further details but the upshot of us hosting these events will be to ensure that the venue is once again playing host to major events on the tennis calendar.
WATCH THIS SPACE.