PH tennis officials facing woes happy to see international body ‘stepping in’

Date Published: NOVEMBER 01, 2017

The president of the international governing body of tennis said he is disappointed with the leadership mess plaguing the sport's national association in the Philippines, a local official has said.

Randy Villanueva, board member of the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta), said he and a group demanding reforms in the way the sport is run in the country welcomed the critique by International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty.

“We are happy that the ITF has finally stepped in on this matter that has divided not only the leadership of the tennis association but also the hopes and dreams of our future tennis stars,” Villanueva said.

Haggerty cited the resignation of Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez and two recent Philta elections that were not sanctioned by the ITF and the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Jean Henri Lhuillier said he wants to see Philta leaders be accountable for the local state of tennis.

“We have been demanding for Philta officials to make improvements in running the association because it has already derailed the development of tennis in the country for so long,” a long-time backer of tennis and Philta board member said.

Lhuillier and Villanueva's group does not agree with the alleged "exclusive nature and lack of programs," and questioned the legitimacy of Philta president Antonio Cablitas, who won the vote in June.

In his letter, Haggerty said the ITF, like the POC, continues to recognize Olivarez as the Philta president and told the organization to amend its charter to expand the membership before holding an election.

The ITF also gave Philta until November 15 to submit a list of current members, qualifications and criteria for membership and a clear plan of action for how Philta intends to expand its membership.

It also tasked Philta to file reports of its accomplishments for the last 2 to 3 years such as the number of tournaments, number of coaching training sessions, number of training camps, and list of international competitions in which the Philippines participated.

The Lhuillier group contended that “the content of the report (by Philta) does not look promising as it’s a well-known fact that almost all the tennis activities happening in the country for the last few years have been initiated by private sponsors . . .”