After 35 years of running our Junior Tournament, the Board of Management has made the sad but inevitable decision to withdraw from offering this event.
Members owe a debt of gratitude to the many volunteers who have made this event so popular over the years. Special mention should be made of the outstanding contributions of Ron Anderson, our Tournament Chairman for many years and of Elsie Muenchow, our long time Tournament Director.
When the tournament began in 1975, the club needed an additional source of revenue to boost club funds. The tournament subsequently earned a reputation for being a well organised event and featured prominently in the tennis calendar of juniors throughout the state.
At its peak we were attracting over 300 entrants which then involved the manual scheduling of over 700 matches over five days. We had to use courts at Point Walter and Fremantle Tennis Club in addition to our own. This created many logistical problems and required much goodwill from parents, competitors and many club members who volunteered to provide transport between venues.
While the event continued to provide a welcome source of revenue, its focus was on the development of junior tennis, particularly our own junior members.
In more recent times, several issues have arisen which have affected the viability of our event.
Firstly, it has become increasingly difficult to attract sponsors prepared to offer significant cash support.
Secondly, other clubs have developed their own tournaments. This competition has resulted in fewer juniors entering our tournament because they have so many other options.
Sadly, our 2011 tournament only attracted 70 entrants, with negligible interest from our own club juniors. The lack of interest generally and the difficulty in attracting sponsors meant that it was no longer viable.
Our original objective was the development of junior tennis. The reality is that we are developing juniors from other clubs rather than our own.
Reluctantly, the Board had few options but to bow out gracefully while we are able to look back and say to everyone involved over the years that it was a job well done.
A page in our history is now closed. Its impact will not be forgotten.