A much needed change in the state of Philippine tennis looms after embattled PHILTA president Salvador “Buddy” Andrada announced that he will step down as the association’s president.
This development has made tennis stakeholders country beaming with great hope that the best in Philippine tennis is about to happen.
This turn of events comes as a whiff of fresh air for Philippine which has experienced a stagnant growth in the past years amid the lack of concrete programs from the association and have been mired by leadership disputes the past months.
Stakeholders are one in saying that this is a great development and share the same opinion on who has the capability to bring Philippine tennis back to its feet.
“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 Mr. Jean Henri Lhuillier’s crusade in uplifting the state of tennis in the Philippines,” said Bobby Castro, president and CEO of Palawan Pawnshop.
“I know Jean Henri and you cannot find someone with more enthusiasm and passion for tennis. He is selfless, humble, approachable, has contributed tens of millions to the game, and whose only objective is to lift Philippine tennis,” said John Pages, a former regional vice-president of PHILTA and has helped organized five Davis Cup ties in Cebu City.
Even Philippine Sports Commissioner William “Butch” Ramirez released a statement previously about Lhuillier being a genuine lover and supporter of the sport of tennis.
Palawan Pawnshop together with Cebuana Lhuillier, had earlier bolted out from the PHILTA calendar 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.
Just yesterday, several others followed suit such as 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 Jean Henri 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 Corporation (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,” added Mr.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 presidency but was denied the opportunity when Andrada did not open the position during the elections last February 8, 2017.
“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.
“I’ll also make sure that the association will be more inclusive. I’m confident that with the support of all stakeholders, we can achieve something special for Philippine tennis in the coming years. I’ve always believed that tennis is a sport that Filipinos can be at par with the world’s best,” said Lhuillier.
Lhuillier’s long list of support to Philippine tennis started back in 1994 when he organized and funded a Men’s tennis open. He has since been the team manager and sponsor of the Philippine Davis Cup team for more than 10 years and supports the international campaigns of the country’s top players such as Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Francis Casey Alcantara and Katharina Lehnert.
Lhuillier has also been very active in sponsoring top local tournaments such as the annual PCA Open and was instrumental in bringing international tournaments the past few years such as the ATP Challenger and the ITF and ATF Men’s Futures.
He also spearheads the long-standing Cebuana Lhuillier Age Group Tennis which has been ongoing for the past 11 years that has helped produced top national and collegiate players in the country.