I am at Schiphol airport tonight about to board a flight to Madagascar via Nairobi. I was looking forward to attending the African Tennis Confederation AGM (CAT) which takes place on Friday and having the chance to present my vision for the ITF to the delegates attending.
African tennis is in my heart and I was proud to receive an award 10 years ago from CAT for my contribution to African tennis.
I was very surprised therefore to receive an email yesterday from CAT to say that I would not only be prevented from presenting at their annual meeting, I would also not be allowed to attend the AGM, any social activities or to be present in any of the areas that the meeting takes place.
Having earlier in the year been stopped from attending the Tennis Europe and South American tennis AGMs because of an election code of conduct introduced by the current ITF president and his board, the code now allowed me to attend this meeting as the ITF has now announced the candidates. I was told in the email that Mr Haggerty, who released his manifesto for re-election last Saturday, will be allowed to attend this meeting as happened with the Europe and South America meetings. I have been told that he will he joined at the Annual meeting by six of the ITF staff. This lack of transparency and openness to other views at the ITF is one of the reasons I decided to be a candidate for ITF president at the next ITF AGM in September.
As it is too late to cancel flights and hotel, I am still going to go to Madagascar as planned and I will try to meet federations in the AGM hotel where I am staying.
Madagascar has a good tradition of tennis having had a player in the 3rd round of the Australian Open in the late 90s and good results at international junior level. I have never been to Madagascar but have heard that it is a great country with friendly people and I am looking forward to my first visit there. Looks like I will now have more time for sightseeing!