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Tennis rocking to the bottom


The sport of Tennis here has plummeted to an all time low, and is easily among the minnows of disciplines in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.{{more}}

The throes of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association (SVGTA) are mounting with each passing day, as sponsors, players, parents and guardians have almost abandoned the national administration, leaving it to seek refuge in an orphanage.

During the past twelve months, the sport has just been able to exist on life support, being intravenously fed by the activities carried out by the various Tennis clubs and academies across St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The fact that there were three attempts last year to hold a meeting to elect a new Executive, and none came to fruition, illustrates the magnitude of the predicament that Tennis at the national level has found itself in.

It goes without saying that there must be a strong vibrant body of decision makers, who are charged with the task of guiding an organisation forward.

Much of the disinterest of having an Executive of a bona fide St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association lies with those who were there before, some of whom have benefitted and are no longer interested as their children have past the stage where they are seeking tennis scholarships.

As testimony to this indifference, the tournaments organized on the national scale are not well attended, as very little publicity is done, and there is an institutionalized forgetfulness at the broader scale of participation.

The recent national Christmas tournament was a case in point, as entries in the three age categories: Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18, netted a mere 27 players.

This means that the courts at the National Tennis Centre are underutilized. They have rather been centres of personal commercial activities, instead of the overall development of Tennis.

With the passage of time, the facility is in need of repairs and presently requires a facelift. If we are not careful, the much touted National Tennis Centre may soon be deemed useless.

Despite the many challenges this country faces, we have been able to maintain our hold on the annual International Tennis Federation Junior Tournament, usually held at the back end of August.

The tournament has been the lone lighthouse for the sport for the past two years, but is need of recharging.

Through all this turbulence, current President of the SVGTA, Antony Mc Kenzie, must be commended for trying to steer a ship which is empty of cargo, its engines switched off, its navigational instruments malfunctioning, and with billows tossing it from side to side.

Mc Kenzie, like any true and faithful captain, has remained on board. But how long will he endure?

The time may be rife for a SOS call to be sent out for us to save the Tennis ship from being completely submerged.

Maybe the various Tennis set ups; the Grassroot Tennis Club, the Great Head School, X-Cel Tennis Academy, Bonan Tennis School, Onike Tennis Academy, and others could respond to the distress call and jump aboard with Tennis’ life jackets, before there is a voyage to the bottom of the sea.

One past president of the SVGTA, Michael Nanton, last year openly expressed his dissatisfaction with the direction, better put, the lack of direction, of the organisation, and was willing to assist in its time of need.

Persons who are willing to do so must do so with light hearts, forgetting past hurts, past infractions and fall outs, and put Tennis first.

The time of need has reached the point of crisis and serious attention must come at once.

With the ball in the court of those who love the sport, it is time for someone to start serving, and rally until the revival of Tennis becomes the winner.