Cape Town - Renowned coach and former doubles star Jeff Coetzee was on Thursday named as Tennis South Africa's first ever Director of Tennis.
The 42-year-old will combine the new role with his responsibilities on the ATP Tour where he coaches the world No 1 doubles pair of Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Under Coetzee's watch, the Colombian duo won two Grand Slam titles in 2019 - at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Coetzee, a former Davis Cup stalwart for South Africa, said he was excited about the opportunity to oversee TSA's high-performance player pathway.
"I am delighted to have accepted this role. It is a great platform for me to give back to tennis in South Africa and to be part of the growth of the sport in our country. There has been a lot of progress within TSA in the past few years, but there is still much work to be done, especially to create future home-grown Grand Slam players.
"A key focus area for this role is communication and my immediate priority is to build stronger relationships with our players, parents and coaches. As a tennis nation we have huge natural athletic talent, but need to benchmark ourselves against the best in the world and then deliver on those benchmarks," said Coetzee.
Richard Glover, CEO of TSA, believes the appointment is a significant statement of intent by the federation.
"We wanted to secure a Director of Tennis who has a proven track-record of success at the highest level and it is not every day you can sign up a current Wimbledon and US Open winning coach. Jeff is a great professional, a clever strategist and a fantastic communicator. We believe he will play an influential role in moving local tennis forward, both on and off the court,” said Glover.
"While some might be concerned about Jeff combining his existing day job with this new position, we actually see it is a positive and innovative move, as it will enable him to network at the highest level of the game and help to build international collaborations, that will ultimately benefit our players and their coaches," concluded Glover.
TSA added that Coetzee's position would be a part-time, paid position and will focus on five key areas in the high-performance tennis space:
1. Strategic Planning: Helping to grow an integrated high-performance pathway for South African tennis players.
2. Relationship Building: Strengthening relationships and fostering co-operation with local and overseas based high performance coaches.
3. Communication and engagement: With elite SA junior players, SA players playing in the US College system, SA players playing on the various ATP, WTA and ITF tours, parents, coaches and relevant specialist TSA Task Forces.
4. Structures: Plotting a long-term plan for all national teams and squads.
5. Mentorship: Of promising young high-performance coaches in South Africa.
- Tennis SA