Kevin Curren still waiting on Tennis SA's call

Kevin Curren (Gallo Images)
Kevin Curren (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - With a new sponsor and apparent revived resolve, South Africa's tennis administration is seeking to regain the country's former status in the sport, but surprisingly left out in the cold in the initiative is Kevin Curren.

Wimbledon is the focus of attention at this time of year with the feats of South Africa's most successful singles player in the blue riband event of the game invariably rekindled.

So it was more than a little surprising when Curren revealed on Sunday that he was not  actively involved in the initiatives that have got off the ground in enthusiastic, but in the greater context a lukewarm effect.

"Yes I was approached," said the former Wimbledon and Australian Open finalist "and asked if I was prepared to play a role in assisting in the moves to rebuild South African tennis.

"I replied in the affirmative," added Curren, "and was told I would be contacted shortly. But I've heard nothing since. And that was some time ago."

Meantime, the 59-year-old Curren revealed that July always remains a recurring nostalgic period for him as he recalls the 1985 Wimbledon tournament in which he overpowered world number one John McEnroe and number three Jimmy Connors in straight sets before losing unexpectedly to teenage German upstart Boris Becker in the final.
"But Wimbledon was always something special and extraordinary for me ever since I first went there in 1980 and played some of my best tennis.

"Obviously the loss to Boris was a bitter disappointment, but in the wider context Wimbledon undoubtedly provided the indelible highlights of my career."

Ranked fifth in the world and with four Grand Slam doubles titles to his credit, Curren laments the fact that South Africa has not unearthed a top world-class player in the past decade.

The last two players who would justifiably be placed in this category are Kevin Anderson, in singles, and Raven Klaasen in doubles. But pointedly Anderson is now 30 and Klaasen 35.

Right now no South African apart from Anderson, either in the men's or women's format, is ranked among the top 250 singles players in the world.

"Apart from Kevin and Raven, I think of a whole host of South African players, among them Eric Sturgess, Wayne Ferreira, Johan Kriek, Cliff Drysdale, Frew McMillan and Bob Hewitt who were among the top 10 in the world at one time or another," said Curren.
"Why this has drained up is certainly disturbing," he added.

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