Johannesburg – South African Davis Cup captain John-Laffnie de Jager has been honoured with the presidency of the Global Professional Coaches Association – the ATP-recognised body to which most of the world's leading tennis coaches are affiliated.
Members of the GPTCA include Toni Nadal, coach and uncle of current world number one Rafael Nadal; Patrick Mouratoglou, who coached world number one women's player Serena Williams; Magnus Norman, coach of world number three and recent Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka and Ivan Ljubicic, the Croatian coach of Canadian Davis Cup star Milos Roanic.
“To be chosen by such peers as their president is indeed a career highlight and something of which I am extremely proud,” said De Jager, who is the first South African to be elected GPTCA president.
The world body said it had appointed De Jager as recognition of his hard work and experience as a coach.
“De Jager's vast knowledge of tennis at a professional and grass roots level, his experience as a Davis Cup captain and ability as a past player of note were all products of his passion and dedication to the game,” the GPTCA said in a statement.
“His admirable and enthusiastic attitude regarding all aspects of tennis are recognised by colleagues and players alike.
“The main goal of the GPTCA is to expose coaches and players to developments of the game at the highest level - and, with this in mind, De Jager has been in the forefront.”
Apart from his position as South African Davis cup captain, De Jager also coaches two of the world's top-eight doubles combinations, namely the Polish duo of Marcin Matkowski and Mariusz Fyrstenburg and the Dutch-Romanian duo of Julien Rojer and Horia Tecan, who both qualified for the ATP's World Masters Finals in London last year.
He also coaches the Springfield Lasers in the United States' World Team Tennis event, guiding them to last year's final and having been named “Coach of the Year” on three occasion by the organisation.
As a player, De Jager reached a world ranking of eleventh in doubles, qualified for two grand slam finals and five semi-finals and, in all, competed in 45 grand slam events.
He also reached the semi-finals at the 2000 Olympic Games tournament in Sydney.– Sapa