CENTURION, December 16, 2021 (Tennis South Africa Press Release)
Having made significant progress in the role, former South African Davis Cup and ATP Tour player Jeff Coetzee has stepped down as Tennis SA’s Director of Tennis, in order to focus on other commitments.
Coetzee, a doubles specialist who won six ATP titles and reached two Grand Slam semi-finals during his elite career, retired from the tour in 2010.
After turning to coaching, and finding further success, he was appointed as TSA’s first ever Director of Tennis in December 2019, in order to oversee the federation’s high performance player pathway.
Though it is a paid position, it is a part-time role, and Coetzee admitted he was struggling to juggle the workload, along with coaching and family responsibilities.
“This was a personal decision as I feel I need more family time,” Coetzee said.
“I am passionate about the development of the game and giving the talented junior players in our country every opportunity of reaching their goals, and I enjoyed the challenge of nurturing talent to produce world-class players.
“I just feel that more time is required to fulfil this objective, and with me being a coach on the ATP Tour with a top team, the time required, according to the contract in place, does not allow.”
Coetzee coached Colombian doubles team Juan Sebastien Cabal and Robert Farah since December 2013 when they were ranked 65 and 68, respectively, in the ATP world rankings.
Under the guidance of Coetzee, the Colombian pair claimed 20 titles which included two Grand Slams – Wimbledon and US Open in 2019. Coetzee also guided the duo to a world No. 1 ranking in the same year.
Coetzee said he had enjoyed his time with the federation, during which he helped develop players, built relationships, created opportunities, and found unique ways to deal with the struggles faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It had its challenges, but it was so rewarding when everything we worked on came together,” he said.
“I was grateful to be welcomed with open arms warmly by corporate South Africa, coaches and players. It was good to engage with all entities. I enjoyed listening to parties and learning from them.”
Coetzee wished TSA well in its ongoing drive to develop and grow the sport.
Based on how much progress had been made during his two-year tenure, despite national lockdowns and travel bans, 44-year-old Coetzee felt the federation was on the right path.
“In the last two years we saw how tennis can grow with a good team effort in these unusual circumstances, and I’m sure it will continue to get better in the near future.”
TSA vice-president, Riad Davids, thanked Coetzee for his contribution: “We thank Jeff for his passion, dedication and commitment to tennis in South Africa. His contribution cannot be measured, and we know he will continually be part of building tennis in the country.
“We wish him well with his new doubles team and are convinced he will take them into the world’s top 10 doubles soon, as he did with the Cabal and Farah.”