Stakeholders push for new leadership in tennis

A MUCH-NEEDED change in Philippine tennis loomed after Philta president Salvador “Buddy” Andrada announced that he would step down as the association’s president with tennis stakeholders expressing hopes for and guaranteeing the sport’s renaissance.

“We thank Mr. Andrada for his decision to step down and thus pave the way for an orderly transition in Philta’s leadership. Consistent with our company’s mission to advance sports development in our country, we fully support Jean Henri Lhuillier’s crusade in uplifting the state of tennis in the Philippines,” said Bobby Castro, president and CEO of Palawan Pawnshop, which organizes the country’s biggest age-groupers for years with more than 50 tournaments on tap each season.

“I know Jean Henri and you cannot find someone with more enthusiasm and passion for tennis. He’s selfless, humble, approachable, has contributed tens of millions to the game, and whose only objective is for the upliftment of Philippine tennis,” said John Pages, a former regional vice-president of Philta who has helped organized 5 Davis Cup ties in Cebu City.

Philippine Sports Commission chaimarn William “Butch” Ramirez has previously described Lhuillier as a genuine lover and supporter of tennis.

Palawan Pawnshop together with Cebuana Lhuillier had earlier withdrawn their support to the Philta program and announced a unified ranking system. Since then, organizers and sponsors of several other tournaments have also announced withdrawal from Philta calendar such as Tru-Flex National Age Group and Toby’s Youth Sports Foundation and Wilson Sports along with the BMEG-sponsored tournaments, the Henry Sr. Memorial Age Group, Dunlop/Slazenger-supported tournaments as well as those supported by Babolat. All of them have expressed support also to Lhuillier’s leadership and his vision to advance the development of tennis in the Philippines.

“Jean Henri Lhuiller has been a selfless supporter of Philippine Tennis for many years and we believe he has the sport’s best interest in mind. We hope the situation right now is resolved as soon as possible so that we can focus on tennis and our players, said John Christopher Tan, vice president of Asiatraders Corp. (Dunlop/Slazenger).”

“We are committed to promoting sportsmanship and camaraderie among the tennis enthusiasts and in providing a venue for athletes to further excel in different fields of sports especially tennis. We fully recognize Mr. Lhuillier’s passion and strong leadership capacities, thus we are supporting his bid for Philta leadership,” said Guillermo Nocom, president of Techno Sports Inc., exclusive distributor of Babolat products in the Philippines.

Lhuillier, president and CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier, has previously expressed his intent to run for the Philta presidency but was denied the opportunity when Andrada did not open the position during the elections last Feb. 8, prompting the stakeholders to withdraw their support.

“I’m happy for the vote of confidence from my fellow stakeholders and it’s really my desire to help Philippine tennis improve its state. If given the chance to lead, I’ll ensure that long-term programs - that will promote the popularity of the sport, enhance the rankings of our national players as well as discover and harness fresh talents, will be in place,” said Lhuillier.


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