The Bear: this was a difficult article to write because the people involved are an important part of our tennis family. But it must be written if ONcourt is to be the voice of Canadian tennis. Fans, while being an important component [financially] of the sport, are given token say through various polls which ask such relevant [!] questions as, who was best: “Laver or Sampras?” They are catered to because their dollars fuel the economy of the various organizations that rule the sport. But, what about the players’ and the coaches’ rights and opinions?
If you are good enough the ATP and WTA players association will defend your rights, but what about if you are a national, provincial or regional competitive player? Options are available but bureaucratic process is usually a complex and drawn out procedure. If you’re a coach, you can belong to a federation’s coaching association which is run by the federation. Not much chance there to address issues which are contrary to federation policies.
Basically players and coaches do not have a voice. Here is an example of an incident which is unfolding this week in Ontario.
Based on facts:
1. A coach gets fired by a club
2. The coach sues the club for wrongful dismissal
3. The hearing for dismissal has not been heard
4. The club hosts a National Championship
5. Tennis Canada sanctions the National Championship at the club
6. The coach is a player in good standing with the association
7. The coach enters the tournament as a competitor
8. The club notifies the coach he cannot enter the club
9. The tournament director takes the coach’s name out of the draw
In this country where individual rights are preeminent, does this sound right?
What happens if the coach works at another club and wants to go see his junior player who is playing a provincial event at the said club? Will he be refused entry to the club? Is that fair to the junior player and his parents?
Can tournament directors hold sanctioned provincial and national events and refuse entry to anyone they chose?
Is this a dangerous precedent?
Should the national or provincial association be involved in such an issue?
Can this coach’s tennis career as a player, his chances to play competitively, his chances of representing Canada internationally be affected by such a decision?
Does this seem like discrimination?
If it is who is liable?
If it isn’t… What a can of worms…
What do you think?
Note from The Bear: As an answer to the above, I am about to start up my fifth coaches association. I have been involved in the creation of the The association of Quebec coaches [tennis], The Canadian Professional Coaches Association [all sport], The International Tennis Federation Coaching Commission and The Coaches Association of Ontario [all sport]. I believe it is now time to create a group ‘The Performance Coaches of Canadian Tennis’ which will provide input on the various policies of tennis development in this country. Since these coaches are responsible for the initial development of the Canadian players, and clubs, and academies, it only seems logical that their be heard. Read upcoming articles for further information on this new group.