Following Kevin Anderson’s runner-up finish at the the US Open final in Flushing Meadows Tennis SA (TSA) has admitted the sporting body has not done enough to support the country’s top player.
Anderson produced an historic run at the US Open, before finally losing out to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in straight sets 6-3 6-3 6-4 in the title decider.
With his stunning performance in the US Open, Anderson moved up 17 spots to 15th in the world rankings – now just five places off the career high 10th he reached in October 2015.
South Africa, however, have no other men’s singles player in the top-200 in the ATP rankings and no women’s player in the top-300 in the WTA rankings.
This lack of depth in South African tennis has prompted criticism directed at TSA, and CEO of Tennis South Africa (TSA), Richard Glover responded to the claims on Monday.
“I only joined TSA towards the end of last year, so I have little in the way of first-hand experience of what has happened historically between Kevin and TSA,” said Glover.
“However, after having spoken to Kevin, his mother, as well as several TSA stalwarts, who have been in the system for years, I have come to [the] conclusion that. While our Federation has supported Kevin more than most people realise, on balance we have not supported him enough.
“In short, both he and his family have made huge sacrifices to get him to where he is today. This is their triumph – not ours. Indeed, the reality is that Kevin has long since passed through our tennis structures and he doesn’t need assistance from TSA any more – but we need him!”
Glover said TSA had devised a new eight-year plan to grow the sport in the country.
“TSA is learning from the past to ensure that the next generation of Kevin Anderson’s (and their female equivalents), who are inspired by this wonderful story, are provided the necessary support structures to – 1. get into the game, 2. grow in the game and 3. stay in the game for life.
“TSA has a new eight-year plan to grow our sport in SA and while we are in the early stages of executing on this plan, there is a lot of positive energy and signs of progress. The five new sponsorships we have secured since the start of 2017 have allowed us to start investing in these support structures – especially in terms of junior tennis, young high-performance players, as well as in the transformation and grassroots development space.”