John-Laffnie De Jager Responds To Tennis South Africa’s Statement

After resigning his post as Davis Cup captain a fortnight ago, John-Laffnie De Jager has been accused of various allegations with a blame game ensuing between De Jager and the embattled federation.  Here De Jager responds to TSA’s statement:

“I wasn’t surprised by TSA’s eventual response to my resignation.  They didn’t address any of my concerns and affirmed that I made the right decision.  Their invite to talk about everything behind closed doors is a bit late.  I’ve been asking for that for more than a year.  All the info they need to make decisions have been made available to them.  Frankly, only asking for such a meeting after my resignation is what my problem with TSA is:  They don’t make decisions, they don’t communicate and they don’t act.  If they respected and valued me as they said yesterday (Monday) they would have acted quicker.  For the record, Gavin Crookes hasn’t replied to me personally after I sent him my letter of resignation.  Not a word of thanks, not an invite to the board, nothing.

In response to yesterday’s release:

I never said anything about Gavin Crookes traveling on TSA cost.  I know he pays for everything himself.  (I) would love to see their proof where I accused them of that.  My problem is with sending Clark Coetzee to Turkey on TSA cost where he’ll be of no value but then denying me any support staff.  In no professional sport is the support staff determined by the team.  In this case the team hasn’t been selected yet but TSA has already determined who may not go.  I was told in an email on the 14th of January by Gavin Crookes that they will only decide on the physio once the team was selected.  On the 13th Leon Freimond asked him in an email if he can ask me to table my team and should he tell me now or later that the other physio is going.  Why are they lying about this?

Yes, I was responsible for team discipline.  When Ruan Roelofse and Dean O’ Brien misbehaved I stepped in and spoke to them.  Afterwards I asked TSA to act on their behavior.  They didn’t.  TSA never contracted the players.  It was something Leon Freimond is responsible for.  I had no means available to handle the situation differently than the way I did.  The GPTCA (Global Professional Tennis Coaches Association) course is endorsed by many tennis federations who are also members of the ITF (International Tennis Federation).  They never gave me the criteria.  I have proof of all these meetings and communication.  I only wanted coaches who attended it to get CDP-points.  TSA offer this to many courses I’m sure the ITF is unaware of.  TSA never provided the course with any media exposure or assisted the organisers with coaches information.  Why didn’t Mr Crookes give me a call and tell me the reason they couldn’t sanction the course?  Board member Allan Karam, who is also on the coaching committee and decided not to sanction the course, stated in public that the former players think that they know everything and that they are not qualified coaches.  Not very professional about it and no wonder they declined to sanction it.

They took over the team selection process and only sent out the emails on the 23rd of December; two months after the draw was made available.  They determined who may be invited and Leon Freimond said no college players should be selected and that Wayne Montgomery, who is the best young player in South Africa, can be a hitting partner at best.  Some of our best current players are still at college.  Also, they wanted me to name my line-up for the weekend six weeks before the time.  That is something I can only do once I see everybody and in which form they are in.  No coach picks his team six weeks before a match.  I never said they interfered with team selection during the Lithuania tie.

None of the allegations Leon Freimond made about my support staff has been backed up by facts that I requested.  Also, Leon Freimond didn’t provide the report I requested after Ilze Hattingh got injured under the supervision of TSA staff, Allan Karam and Bridge Vissee.  I am still waiting for more than 10 months for the report.  What are they hiding?  Allan is traveling with the Fed Cup team to Estonia and I would just like my players to feel comfortable about the same thing not happening again.

I find it disappointing that they went through considerable trouble and at a huge cost to have a big board meeting and press conference after my resignation but were never willing to have the same sense of urgency and purpose before.  This would have prevented lots of problems and my resignation.  Somehow I feel they are relieved that I’m gone.  Now nobody will ask the necessary questions.”

3 thoughts on “John-Laffnie De Jager Responds To Tennis South Africa’s Statement

  • January 28, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Its so refreshing to see everything laid out bare. Well done J-L !

    TSA NEED to respond to all of this out in the open and not “behind closed doors”.

    TSA take note that the players and parents now have their backs up and we are all dissecting your mistakes. No amount of patronising, avoiding the issues and reiterating over and over that its not about the administrators will suffice. In this instance it is ALL about the very bad administration thats at the heart of discord in SA Tennis.

  • January 28, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    I obviously don’t know the extent of what has happened, who said/did what etc. but whoever is in charge of TSA administration should ALWAYS have the interest of the players and the credibility of ONLY TSA at the forefront of what they do.
    Too many sports in SA are killed by administrators who put their own interests 1st and the players and sport waaaaay 2nd.
    It is sad that Tennis is apparently one of those and as we all know by now, unfortunately J-L is not the first person to highlight this issue.
    I sincerely hope someone will have the b@lls to finally make a stand and demand that things change and are made better. Maybe the players are the only ones who can?? If not, I see a sad future for SA Tennis locally and internationally. #timeforchange

  • February 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    waarom moet onbekende sport-administrateurs altyd optree asof hulle die spel uitgedink, die reels opgestel en die toernooie organiseer het? Waarom word HULLE BETAAL vir werk wat in die verlede gedoen is vir en uit die liefde vir die sport? Waarom luister Suid-Afrikaanse sport-administrateurs nie na die klagtes en wense van afrigters en spelers/atlete/swem ers nie? Hierdie onderonsies word wereldwyd versprei en skep ‘n vrot beeld.

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