I registered today to attend the ITF’s Worldwide Participation conference that takes place in London during Wimbledon. I had hoped to be a speaker at the conference and had submitted a proposal in March on “driving tennis participation with user friendly play and competition”, using examples of initiatives that are working effectively in Asia and also in Europe. 

I was disappointed to have my proposal rejected and very surprised with the reason given – ”that only speakers representing the organisations they work for who will be reporting on specific strategies, work and programmes which their organisations have implemented” would be considered. At the time  I was working for the Asian Tennis Fédération and had just been nominated for ITF president by Tennis Ireland and so I struggled to understand the reason given. It certainly made little sense to me.

I would have understood better if they said they did not like the topic or if they said I was not as experienced  in participation as the other speakers from National and Regional  Associations  selected. I really hope that decision was not taken for non-management reasons related to my candidacy.

I believe this topic of user friendly play is important for the future of tennis and if I am elected president in September I will ensure that the ITF does more to encourage user friendly play and share best practice.

Anyway I am looking forward to attending the conference as a paying participant and will try to contribute as best I can. I may even bring my tennis 10s friend Sponge Bob with me!!

Serve Rally and Score!