Fri, 17 Jan 2020

Coetzee faces juggling act in new Tennis SA job

News24
13 Dec 2019, 22:13 GMT+10

Cape Town - Tennis South Africa's announcement this week of the appointment of 42-year-old former Davis Cup player and successful top-level coach, Jeff Coetzee, as South Africa's first Director of Tennis on a part-time basis can be construed as a half a loaf of bread being better than none.

For while the confection of sorts clearly has a number of appetising features attached to it for South Africa's needed advancement and widespread return as a major performer at the mainstream level of the game, there are some tricky foibles attached to it too in view of the incisive Okiep, Northern Cape-born tennis authority continuing to coach Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, Colombia's current world No 1 doubles combination.

Imagine, for example, if South Africa's No 1 and eighth world-ranked doubles player, Raven Klaasen, should come up against Cabal and Farah in a major Grand Slam match - as occurred in this year's Wimbledon semi-final - South Africa's Director of Tennis will figuratively be sitting in the Colombians' corner!

It is a "tricky" situation - as Coetzee himself concedes - although he believes the problems are there to overcome and travelling the world with the Colombians will also enhance his own tennis knowledge, which, in turn, can be utilised when working on his varied commitments as South Africa's Director of Tennis.

Another paradox of sorts, however, is that TSA has appointed Coetzee to take charge of the South African squad at the forthcoming inaugural ATP World Team Cup tournament in Australia, which will launch the 2020 international season, while fellow former Davis Cup player, Marcos Ondruska, remains officially the country's Davis Cup captain.

In case anyone might have wondered where Ondruska fits in with the new set-up, the seasoned former 28th world-ranked player confirmed from the United States where he is based that his South African Davis Cup contract extends through to the end of 2020.

TSA, probably, will diplomatically deem it greatly beneficial for Coetzee and Ondruska to work hand-in-hand in the belief that two good heads are better than one.

But, on the other hand, a contrasting assessment could come up with the view that '"too many cooks spoil the broth."

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