‘We have a society of takers’: Tennis association head urges players to give back

President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) Cordell Williams
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By Neto Baptiste

The President of the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA), Cordell Williams, wants to see more athletes who have benefited from the sport find ways to give back to the next generation of players.

Williams, who hinted that he is looking to step away from his role as head of the ABTA after dedicating more than 30 years to the sport, said he has seen the trend too often where some players benefit from scholarships and other incentives via the association, but are reluctant to lend a hand when the opportunity arises.

“One of the joys of doing something is that you love to help and those who would have benefitted you’d also love to see them come and give back. But we have a society of takers [who] get all the help to get to where [they] are but [they] don’t really see the need give back and help to make the programme continue to grow,” he said.

Williams, who was speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, labelled the situation as frustrating, adding that even a word of encouragement to the young players would suffice.

“Some of our university athletes who have gone away don’t even come around and talk to the next generation and say ‘this is what I benefited from playing tennis and if you stay focused and continue to put in the work then you could also do well’,” he said.

“It gets very frustrating that you continue to reach out and help them to get to the next level and after they get there they don’t even come back and give 10 minutes of their time to the next generation coming through. We do a summer camp every year so they could come and give a day. Even if you don’t coach you can sit and talk to the youngsters, let them know they can benefit because they themselves would have benefited, come back and doing well,” he added. 

There are currently four players who are attending schools in the USA on tennis scholarships. There are also many others who have benefited from opportunities facilitated by the ABTA.

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