SA tennis faces shake-up

2014-10-15 15:15
John-Laffnie de Jager (File)

Johannesburg - A major coaching shake-up to arrest the decline in the status of South African tennis will take place next month in Pretoria under the aegis of the Global Professional Tennis Coaching Association.

This was revealed on Wednesday by SA Davis Cup captain John Laffnie de Jager, who is also the local president of the organisation to which many of the world's leading coaches and past and present icons are affiliated.

"What we have evaluated is that there is a disturbing decline in the progress of young South African tennis players, who demonstrate immense potential in their formative years up to the age of 14," De Jager said.

"What we are thinking of mainly is discovering the reasons why South Africans, both boys and girls, in the 14 to 17-year age-group do not maintain the progress to keep up with the top prospects in other parts of the world and go on to be leading world-class players."

An assortment of the leading South African players and coaches in recent years will participate in the three-day course from November 19 to 21 which will focus on players aged 14 to 17, their coaches and directing parents in the right direction to maximise potential.

Former Wimbledon singles finalist Kevin Curren, former Wimbledon doubles champion Wesley Moodie and Kevin Anderson's coach Neville Godwin would be among the participants.

Also playing a role at Midstream College will be an assortment of recognised specialists like Sherylle Calder, the innovator and specialist of the Eyegym procedure and strength and conditioning expert Richard Sutton.

De Jager said next month's proceedings would be two-fold, with coaching sessions on the court as well as lectures and dissemination of information from the likes of Curren and Moodie as to what was required to reach the top level in tennis.

While the programme would be directed in the first instance at coaches, the up-and-coming players and their parents, the overall objective was to lift the level of tennis in South Africa on the international stage.

While Anderson ranked among the world's top 20 singles players, his closest South African rival was Fritz Wolmarans ranked at 451.

In women's tennis, Chani Scheepers was the highest ranked at 76, followed by Chanel Simmonds at 303.

Read more on:    tennis

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