Tennis South Africa president Gavin Crookes says the launch of their latest development centre in Durban is part of his broader vision to make the country one of the leading nations that play the sport across the world.
The governing body, backed by the financial support from Growthpoint Properties, has opened its fourth such centre at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium.
The programme has a focus on both grassroots and junior high-performance. Crookes says he is delighted what he has already seen by similar centres in Cape Town, Atteridgeville and Soweto.
Tennis had been in the decline in the country in the recent past, but Crookes pointed out that the tables are slowly turning, according to recent stats. However, he believes there is no formal structure for players, particularly those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, to follow once they finished school.
The TSA chief hopes that centres such as the four they now have under their banner will help the process to ensure that the next Kevin Anderson is quickly unearthed.
The eThekwini Tennis Association has already been running a successful development programme at the Westridge facility for several years and one of their most recent discoveries, Siyabonga Jaca, represented the TSA Under-12 national team in Zimbabwe earlier this year.
Their programme will now receive support through the development centre and Crookes was grateful to sponsors for their investment in the sport.
Sponsors’s Chief Operations Officer Engelbert Binnedell, says they are also happy with the mileage their investment in the sport has made over the past two years.
The property giants first took steps into tennis in 2017 and they say they are pleased with the results that have been witnessed thus far.
Binnedell says their dream is also to see more stars born out of the new programme. – Report by Thahir Asmal