Tennis SA CEO steps down
Johannesburg - After nearly ten years at the helm of South African tennis, chief executive officer
Ian Smith has decided to leave the organisation to pursue other interests.
Since his appointment in 2004, Smith has played a key role in turning TSA's fortunes around. He secured significant sponsorship from South African Airways and, through grants received from the Government and Lotto, was also able to implement numerous programs to develop tennis at all levels.
Smith negotiated the five-year deal between SAA and the ATP that resulted in the internationally acclaimed South African Open that ran from 2009 to 2011 at Monte Casino. He has also built a formidable reputation as a tournament director having very successfully run several SA Opens, Soweto Opens and multiple Davis Cup ties.
Along with current TSA President Wire Zondi and Dr Ali Bacher, Smith is also
credited with the creation of a world-class tennis facility in Soweto - a complex that now
boasts 16 tennis courts, a clubhouse and grandstand. The facility has hosted several
Davis Cup ties, Soweto Opens and a number of junior tournaments. It is also used by the local community for social and club tennis.
Smith says he had been contemplating his future for some time and had discussed his possible departure with some members of the board.
"I've really enjoyed my tenure, and was privileged to meet some fantastic people both locally and overseas.
The South African public may not fully appreciate that tennis, unlike rugby, cricket and soccer in this country, is considered a peripheral sport along with the majority of other local sporting codes. We have some wonderful young talent, which needs to be nurtured".
Smith added that "TSA has faced tough challenges, but it has always overcome them and I wish all those involved a great future.
I especially salute the hundreds of enthusiasts in the provinces who voluntarily dedicate their time and effort to a myriad of tennis activities."
Wire Zondi, the current President of Tennis South Africa acknowledged Smith's significant contribution to tennis in South Africa commenting that his legacy would be around for many years to come.
"All of us at TSA wish to warmly thank Ian for his enormous contribution to South African tennis and wish him every future success"
Zondi advised that plans had been put in place to ensure the smooth running of the organisation in the period before a successor to Smith was appointed adding that the board would be convening in the near future to consider Tennis South Africa's forward strategy.