For the past 35 years, Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) president Anne Martin has been involved with the sport but, on September 28, the administrator dropped a retirement bombshell.
Martin announced that she would not be seeking re-election in next year's general assembly. She needs to be applauded for her contribution to the development of tennis in the country. The soft-spoken woman got involved in the sport in 1977. Her romance with the sport saw her setting up a tennis academy in Mutare - Mantas Tennis Academy.
Mantas Tennis Academy has been churning out tennis gems since its inception. The lady-of-distinction then joined tennis leadership during the time she was elected vice-president to the then TZ president Paul Chingoka. She deputised Chingoka until such a time she decided to contest the post of president, but lost to Cecil Gombera in 2004. Martin continued as vice-president to Gombera.
Her time finally came in 2005 after Gombera decided not to seek re-election citing pressing business commitments. She was voted to the hot seat unoppossed. Martin showed tremendous character in true leadership in the seven years that she was in charge.
What made her reign difficult is that most sports associations crumbled and at times failed to send participants to international competitions, but it was a different case altogether for tennis. Parents with children that played tennis would chip in and make sure their children participated in numerous international tournaments.
Martin has been leading an executive of volunteers, as the association has been in financial dire straits. All members who make up the national executive are there on a voluntary basis.
On Friday, Martin opened a new chapter in the history of tennis in Zimbabwe when Old Mutual officially handed over two tennis courts at Harare Sports Club to the association after a successful reconstruction.
The venue has a total of 11 courts, making Zimbabwe eligible to host any international tennis tournament of any magnitude. We salute the work that Martin has done for tennis in Zimbabwe.
Fare thee well madame Martin!