Tennis

Athletes must be patriotic - SA tennis official

2016-03-11 16:50
Kevin Anderson (AP)

Pretoria - Patriotism and the desire to represent your country should always be at the top of your mind when you're an athlete.

These are the views of Mpho Makhoba, from Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, who has become the first female official to receive an international qualification under the joint certification programme run by the International Tennis Federation incorporating the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women's Tennis Association.

She is also only the fourth South African female to achieve an international Chief of Umpires qualification.

"It makes me sad when a South African athlete decides to leave the country and represent another nation," said Makhoba.

But, she said, "One can understand their need for greener pastures and trying to get more tournaments as we don't have enough in South Africa for the players to participate in."

Makhoba was the Chief of Umpires at the Davis Cup match when South Africa played against Luxembourg in Irene Pretoria.

"I think even if you go outside the country, it would be better if you keep your status as a South African so that when we have major events like the Davis Cup and Fed Cup you come back and play.

"We have our Chanelle Scheepers who always came back to play," she said.

Makhoba said South African tennis player Kevin Anderson's decision to leave was a big loss to the country and it pained her.

She said she was hopeful that future tennis players would realise the importance of representing their country and giving back to their communities.

"Kevin Anderson managed to play a couple of tournaments in South Africa but with him now.. on the verge of changing his citizenship, it's sad for South Africa.

"I hope somewhere, somehow our upcoming players like Lloyd Harris will stay in the country and do South Africa proud," she said.

Read more on:    tennis
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