“GET your act together.”
That was the appeal made by national tennis players Treat Huey and Johnny Arcilla to the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) after the body was suspended for two years by the sport’s international governing organization, jeopardizing the participation of Filipino netters in future competitions.
Recently, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) moved to suspend PHILTA for two years over the latter’s refusal to submit reportorial requirements, including amendments to its constitution to diversify its membership.
PHILTA reportedly continued to refuse to heed the long-standing request, leaving the ITF with no choice but to hand down the tough decision.
Messrs. Huey and Arcilla have added their voices in calling out PHILTA for its failure to avert the suspension, more so since it comes amid very tough times for tennis, and sports in general, because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
“If my fellow players are barred from the Davis Cup and other international team competitions, it would be a huge blow to our livelihood in an already-trying time,” said Mr. Huey in a statement.
“The athletes should not suffer because of the shortcomings of PHILTA which we have no control over and are not even made aware of. I really hope that there will be positive changes moving forward, starting off with the holding of an election. My ultimate hope is to have a unified and a more efficiently run organization that will ensure that all the tennis players in the country will be properly taken care of,” added the long-time national player, who also expressed longing to get back into action after the forced layoff this year because of the pandemic.
Similar reforms are also being asked by Mr. Arcilla, a veteran campaigner for the country in the Davis Cup.
“PHILTA must fix its affairs and address this issue. It has to make positive changes for the betterment of Philippine tennis by instituting programs for national athletes,” he said.
Adding, “Players like us are the ones suffering, especially the juniors players who are affected by this suspension.”
ITF President David Haggerty said they gave PHILTA the chance to address the issues before handing down the decision, but nothing came out of it.
The ITF and the local tennis stakeholders are now awaiting the next moves of PHILTA. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo