PHILTA suspension ‘huge blow’ for PH netters

Local tennis stars expressed their disappointment after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) slapped a two-year suspension on the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) over unresolved issues.

For Treat Huey, it would mean losing their main source of income especially that everyone is still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus disease pandemic.

“It would be a huge blow to our livelihood in an already trying time. The athletes should not suffer because of the shortcomings of PHILTA which we have no control over and are not even made aware of,” Huey said.

Huey is a member of the national team competing in international events like the Davis Cup.

The ban would mean the Philippine team will not be able to participate in the Davis Cup zonal qualifiers for the next two editions.

Even those who are competing individually, like Philippine number one female tennis player Marian Capadocia, will be hit by the penalty.

“Affected din siya kasi banned lahat ang Philippine players sa ITF (We are affected too because all the Philippine players are banned by the ITF),” Capadocia said, although she clarified that it is possible that the players can still play in local events once the restrictions ease up further.

Capadocia was participating in certain tournaments in Europe before the pandemic and the ITF ban.

She, however, continues to receive allowances from the Philippine Sports Commission.

One of the major concerns regarding PHILTA, ITF president David Haggerty said, is that the national sports association (NSA) is made up of an “exclusive membership base”, which should have not been the case.

He said PHILTA, like the other NSA’s, must consist of “regional representatives of various sports organizations which should be presided over by the sporting clubs themselves.”

Haggerty asked PHILTA to have a plan of action in expanding its membership, but the lack of immediate response on the issue led to the sanction.

The row within PHILTA reached boiling point when Casey Alcantara and a parent of a juniors player called out the organization for not taking action on the issues.

“Kailangan ayusin agad ng PHILTA itong gusot na ito (PHILTA needs to fix this mess). Make positive changes for the betterment of Philippine tennis by instituting programs for national athletes,” Johnny Arcilla said.

The ban on PHILTA was a sour ending to what has otherwise been a great year for Philippine tennis that saw the national team getting the experience of facing a highly ranked tennis star in world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Davis Cup qualifiers with the Greek national team and Alex Eala winning the Australian Open girls doubles and making the semifinals of the French Open girls singles.

Source: Philippines News agency

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