Well the New Year started with all guns blazing on the courts at Melbourne Park with some of the best quality tennis seen at the year opening Grand Slam event for many a year.
It is not often that we see such tennis so early in the year, and if this sort of quality continues, we could be in for a vintage year. The two men’s semi finals were classics in their own right, and only over shadowed by the excellence and quality of the final.
Murray seems to be closing the gap, and with Federer pushing Nadal all the way in the other semi, these four look set to continue their dominance of the men’s game throughout the year. Let’s be honest, who else threatened them during the tournament? No one.
The final will live long in our memory, and it may be that we have already seen the Match of 2012, if not then I relish the prospect of a better dish being served up, somewhere.
The ladies did not disappoint either. We have a new champion in Victoria Azarenka who dethroned the holder Kim Clijsters, before annexing the crown herself. Mario Sharapova, having avenged her defeat at Wimbledon to Petra Kvitova, failed at the final hurdle, but to my mind her match in the fourth round when she beat Sabine Lisicki, was as good a ladies match that I have seen in many a year.
Good to see Kevin Anderson get through to the third round but Chanelle Scheepers failed at the first hurdle.
NEW YEAR FOR OUR JUNIORS
Our juniors are back and we around 100 attending squad. We have been able to follow the success of last year’s innovative coaching, and have again called in the expertise of Neville Godwin, Marius Maasencamp, Erik van Eck, Greer Stevens, Gaynor Harris and Rene Plant.
We are please to say that we have added Earl Grainger to that list as a welcome new face, and we are sure that following the success he has had over the year with junior players, that his knowledge and expertise will be a boost for our squad members.
Each coach brings his or her own methods, which compliment the overall objectives, and it brings variety and a breath of fresh air to each Saturday morning.
No two mornings are the same, and it is with eagerly awaited anticipation that the squad members arrive not knowing exactly what is in store for them. Variety is the spice of life, and none more so that at our squads.
There will be a full programme of friendly matches against neighbouring Provinces as usual, and along with the tournaments as laid down in the calendar, the juniors will once again be well catered for when it comes to tennis.
The squad will be under the control and direction of Head Coach Clive Watkinson, who over the years has proved to be an outstanding leader and motivator.
Yes, it is that time of year again, and I know you do not want to read this, but I am going to write it!!!
These are due and payable as at 29 February and should cover all your members whether playing or social. The amounts due per player have been advised to you, but just for the sake of good order, here they are again:
- Jnr league player: SATA R30.00 + GCTA R70.00 = R100.00
- Social player only (including Vets): SATA R30.00 + GCTA R60.00 = R90.00
- League player: SATA R150.00 + GCTA R150.00 = R300.00
- Coaches playing league: GCTA R150.00
- Coaches playing social only: GCTA R60.00
NEW GAUTENG TENNIS ASSOCIATION
The Government has decreed that each sport can only have one controlling body per Province. In future they are not prepared to give funding unless this criterion has been met.
This means that we are in the process of forming the Gauteng Tennis Association to cover the current three “Provinces” within Gauteng, namely, North, Central and East.
From the day to day running of tennis this will still remain the responsibility of the three entities. We, as Gauteng Central, will still run the leagues as well as our junior squads and tournaments and in no way is your clubs position compromised.
The new Executive and Council are being put together, and it is hoped that the new body will be fully constitutional before the end of February. From then any and all application for Government funding will be in the new body’s name, and these funds, when received, will be distributed to the three entities.
DEVELOPMENTS AT ELLIS PARK
With the sale of what was Standard Bank Arena to Ellis Park rugby stadium, we are looking for a closer and more meaningful relationship with the rugby body as opposed to the “arms length” one in the past.
We believe that we can benefit from this new arrangement, and to tap into their maintenance personnel to assist with some day to day needs. We have already had a meeting with them, and we look forward to closer working ties especially when it comes to event days at the various venues whether that may be a rugby, tennis or event at the Arena or even Johannesburg Stadium.
We continue to make improvements to our grounds which, despite the ever growing grass and weeds with the rain, are looking in very good shape, but it takes a lot of work for our staff. Hopefully we may be able to get better machinery to attend to this huge task once our relationship with the rugby stadium is bedded down.
It is hoped that in April we may be hosting a major tennis event, and if we do get the “go ahead” certain other alterations will have to be dealt with to accommodate this particular event.
The Egoli league has started with Morningside Country Club in the men and Bryanston Sports Club in the ladies, looking to retain their titles.
by Mike Dunk