THE YEAR IN REVIEW
So the year has sped by once again. They say it is a sign of “old age” when time goes by quicker than seemed the case not so long ago. I would prefer to say that being busy, despite so called retirement, is the reason.
It has been a frustrating year but there is more than a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
The registrations for the year showed a small increase which is a move in the right direction. With so much tennis being shown on DStv these days what with coverage of the 1000, 500 and in some cases the 250 Series tournaments; the four Grand Slams which receive saturation coverage; the Davis and Fed Cup matches, it is no wonder that the exposure of the game at the top level is there for all to see.
From this we hope to get a “spin off” with the awareness of the game on television being transferred into interest from people who have not either played the game at all, or have turned to other sports for their relaxation.
Tennis is a wonderful game; can be played by everyone from the age of 8 to 80 (and sometimes longer) and also the type of game that can be re looked at in later life. By all accounts from those in “the know”, one hour on the tennis court is akin to the best exercise anyone can get. You use most if not all, of the muscles and body parts, it is played outdoors, is social (and I am not referring to the beers afterwards!) and thoroughly rewarding.
SATA again hosted the SAA SA Open at MonteCasino, a tournament that by all accounts is well loved by the players and officials. The down side from SATA was their decision to cancel the Inter Provincial and National Club Championships as well as curtail the junior Inter Provincial event which, from next year will only be an under 18 event. We have strongly expressed our concern at these decisions as we feel this is not encouraging tennis at club and Provincial level, the back bone of tennis in this country.
Yes, they managed to hold seven Open tournaments under the KeyHealth banner but they fell short of our expectations with regard to the proposed mixed event sponsored by Kia Motors. Hopefully they will have learnt from their mistakes in that area, and next year the event will be staged in a more professional manner.
With regard to your Association, we were able to do quite a bit of maintenance at Ellis Park and resurfaced five of the courts as well as doing certain rather necessary repairs and work to the club house. In the New Year we hope to be able to do more resurfacing as well as additional work to the surrounds and club house.
Once again we staged the leagues in both winter and summer as well as our junior tournaments. The entries for these events are the yard stick for the future of tennis not only in the Province but in the country as a whole, because if we can not retain the current juniors, then the future is bleak.
I know that I have “banged this drum” before, but we as an Association urge the clubs within our Province to take the lead in South Africa and encourage juniors to be part of the club system. Firstly by ensuring that all juniors who play at your club are members, and then to encourage them to grow within the club by welcoming them to take part in your social be it a Saturday afternoon or whenever. From this will lead to more juniors taking part in our leagues, and from that they become better players.
If there is one Christmas wish that we have it is too see a lot more juniors taking part in our senior leagues in 2011. We urge all clubs to try and promote their juniors into senior tennis. It is a decision that you will not regret in the years to come.
On a person note, I have a 12 year old grandson who is already playing senior league in Gauteng East. How many of our clubs can put their hands up and say “so have we.” Let us aim for each club to field at least one junior in their lower league teams next year and I will say categorically now, that if that happens, within three years those juniors will have forced their way into your first side.
Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream, but we need the support of the clubs to fulfil this dream.
Our squads have finished for the year and a huge debt of gratitude to Clive Watkinson and Marius Maasencamp for the dedication and commitment that our coaches have shown. The improvement of the players is down to their commitment and encouragement of the players, and the results at inter provincial level is evident of their progress.
It is with a huge amount of sadness that we have had to accept the resignation of Marius. Many of you do not realize that he lives in Pretoria, travels each day to St Stithians School and then comes to Ellis Park on a Saturday. Now if you have to drive that highway one day a week you are not happy, so you can understand Marius’s decision that the travelling is just too much.
Marius, we appreciate all your efforts over the past year; you brought a breath of fresh air with innovations to the programme, and your cheerful and friendly demeanour ensured that the squad players respected you, enjoyed their time being coached by you and were sad when told of your leaving.
We thank you for all your time, effort and dedication you showed to our squad tennis as well as your commitment to the game as a whole, and you have left a void that will be hard to fill. We wish you well for the future.
At the last squad training session we presented the trophies for the Best Players/All Rounder of the year. We congratulate the winners who have shown great improvement and dedication to the squad and their tennis throughout the year. Once again it was not an easy choice with so many possible candidates. For those of you who did not win, you can rest assured at your commitment and enthusiasm was clear to be seen, and it was through your efforts that forced those who did win, to climb even higher.
Under 12/14 Jonathan Bulmer Caitlin Klaassen
Under 16/18 Sebastian Wernecke Sandra Cvetanovic
We have sent out the registration fee structure for 2011 but we detail these costs again.
SATA GCTA TOTAL
Junior League player 30.00 70.00 R 100.00
Social player (incl Vets) 30.00 60.00 R 90.00
League player 130.00 140.00 R 270.00
Coaches playing league 140.00 R 140.00
Coaches playing social 60.00 60.00
Please note that for a junior who plays senior league, then the R140.00 GCTA fee is due.
Fees are due and payable in respect of ALL players registered at your club as at 28 February 2011.
Just a reminder, when new players join your club after that date, the respective fee should then be paid to us. With very few exceptions this is not being done by the clubs. We can not monitor as and when new members join, but by the lack of fees coming in after your initial payment of those registered as at the end of February, it would indicate that very few and in some cases no new members are joining after 28 February until 28 February the following year!!
Our finances are dependent upon the income we receive from you as affiliation fees. Our costs are going up and we can only work within the monies we receive. So we ask all clubs to be diligent and pay these fees not only when originally due at the end of February, but throughout the year when new members join.
As this is the last news letter for this year, it remains for me to say, on behalf of our President, Bruce Gray, and his Executive, we wish all club members all the best for the Festive Season, travel safely if you are going away and we wish you all great tennis in 2011.