South Africa Sport 13.9.2017 03:54 pm

Jeff Coetzee adds a touch of class as SA tennis awakens

Jeff Coetzee wants to play an integral part in SA tennis' future. Photo: Bruce Davidson/BLD.

Jeff Coetzee wants to play an integral part in SA tennis' future. Photo: Bruce Davidson/BLD.

A former top doubles player, he adds great experience as South Africa tries to climb up the ladder again.

Jeff Coetzee has joined forces with Tennis South Africa (TSA) who are in the process of breathing new life into the game countrywide.

A few days ago, the process took a turn for the better when the full glare of international spotlight was cast on South Africa as Kevin Anderson produced a Grand Slam display of note over a fortnight to reach the US Open semifinals.

Also read: Tennis SA: We should’ve done more for Kevin Anderson

And then even before Anderson reminded world tennis about South Africa’s talents, the new TSA CEO Richard Glover recruited Coetzee, former world doubles Top 20 player to join the SA Davis Cup squad as a consultant.

The national squad who have now strung together a match winning sequence of three ties under captain Marcos Ondruska and are on the verge of promotion from Group 11 to Group 1 in the Euro Africa Zone.

The Cape Town-based Coetzee retired from tennis a few months ago and during his career has played around the world.

He has attended numerous academies worldwide and as a 12-year-old, he attended the Tennis Connection in Tyler, Texas.

Soon after he retired, players on the world tour recognized his value and experience and to date, Coetzee is the preferred coach of three international doubles players.

Coetzee played Davis Cup tennis for South Africa over a 12-year period and now at the age of 40 years, he is a metaphorical treasure trove of tennis learning and knowledge. He has so much to offer the squad’s players, many of whom have not yet reached a stage where they are travelling with a coach and other supporting staff.

“As an assistant coach or a consultant, whichever way you want to see it, I’m thrilled to see the next generation step in to carry the Davis Cup baton for South Africa.

“I’m proudly South African, and unashamedly so, and I’m here to help the team go all the way to the top.

“The squad is busy finding its feet and heading in the right direction and next year we’ll see Kevin Anderson also make an appearance.

“But the meantime we need to get the structures right and the squad captain Marcos Ondruska knows what it takes.

“It’s vital to have someone like Ondruska heading up the cause and I’m there to support him and the players.

“While Anderson has been battling with a spate of injuries over the past 24 months, it would not have been ideal to add Davis Cup matches to his already heavy schedule at this time.

“Where we are currently playing in Group 2, the side has managed without him but next year we could be up against the world’s leading tennis nations, depending on the outcome of the weekend’s Davis Cup result.”



The Citizen Trail Run 2018

today in print