The time has come for change . . . and Philippine sports is no exception. The old unproductive ways must stop, and new better result-driven process must take over. In a move to promote reform in Philippine tennis, Randy Villanueva, PHILTA’s acting president, organized the Philippine Tennis Summit that gathered local stakeholders of tennis to discuss the present state of the industry and identified action plans towards its improvement.
Coaches, players, parents, sponsors, regional representatives, and PhilTA officials gathered last September 6 at Makati Sports Club with members of the media to document the event. Clearly there were serious issues left to fester unchecked that built up in years and slowly dragged the sport down in the country. Past management practices, which are common to other sports as well, had shades of unfair practices and fraud that created distrust and doubt in the integrity of the association by some sectors of the public. In the end, it got in the way of the main objective to develop world-class sports talents and support international bets.
Perhaps inspired by the change in the administration in its boldness to go against these unfair practices and emboldened the current leadership, Villanueva, along with a group of well-meaning investors, spearheaded the move. He presented the current state of Philippine tennis, citing the need to improve the country’s standing in international competitions, increase the number of tennis players in the coutnry, and attract them to become members of the national tennis association that represents the International Tennis Federation in the Philippines, among others.
Villanueva laid down the plans for Philippine tennis, identifying a strategy that starts with changes within the existing organization, followed by milestones that will create funding and resources, enable extensive training programs, and make way for a consistent supply of high-caliber Filipino tennis players before reaching the ultimate goal of becoming a world-class tennis association. He elaborated that for him to consider the vision of becoming a world-class tennis association, the country should have at least two Olympians, at least two players in the top 100 of the ATP & WTA rankings, four junior players in the Top 100 of the ITF boys’ and girls’ categories, qualify for the Fed Cup World Group, and qualify for the Davis Cup World, all by 2024.
He stressed that to be able to achieve all of these, there’s a need to augment the current set-up of the current national tennis association to make way for positive changes specifically in making Philippine tennis inclusive to many. This will pave the way for more active memberships from tennis players, increase in pool of talents, and make the association more sustainable in terms of funding.
“There’s really a need to amend the organization if we are to become a world-class association. The association right now is being run by just 12 people who do not represent any Philippine tennis stakeholders, region or clubs. I think it’s very important that we make it more inclusive to everyone and encourage more participation from the whole Philippine tennis community,” said Villanueva.
One of those elated to hear Villanueva’s vision for Philippine tennis is sports patron and PhilTA chairman of the board, Jean Henri Lhuillier.
“It’s refreshing to have this Philippine Tennis Summit and hear the great plans of Villanueva to move forward Philippine tennis. As always, I’ll be here to support in whatever capacity I can to bring to fruition PhilTA’s plans,” said Lhuillier.
During the summit, Villanueva also advised that he initiated the event in an effort to uplift Philippine tennis (clarifying that he had no any plans to gun for the presidency in the organization’s next election). He is just happy to be able to lay down the work for whoever will succeed him. All for the sake of the reputation and image of Philippine Tennis.