We have received your letter dated 16 May and also read your comment/letter in Sunday Mail on 20 May 2012. We strongly believe that your criticism is too harsh and unfair towards the Cyprus Tennis Federation because maybe you are not aware of certain facts and also due to a bias you might have given that you are personally affected by the rule in question.
Below you can find our answers to the various points raised in both of your letters.
Cyprus Sports Organization has its own procedures in issuing health certificates. These certificates are authorized and issued by a panel of doctors who convene weekly. We are not in a position and it is not our job to comment why they are "so slow" as you mention.
The rest of your letter basically focuses on the Cyprus Tennis Federation rule of having a maximum number of players entered in Pancyprian Tournaments. The idea behind this rule is that certain tournaments used to get extremely overloaded with entries and needed much more than 2 weeks to be completed. Things were getting worse when we had rainy days since there is no indoor back up anywhere in Cyprus. The Board of the Cyprus Tennis Federation has decided that it is in the best interest of the sport to try and compress all tournaments to 2 weeks (with 3 weekends) for the following reasons:
1. Players would know and plan better their time at local tournaments. In the past, tournaments lasted approximately a month and a participant playing could not plan when he/she will finish. This had an impact on the National Team players and other players as well who missed a lot of their practices.
2. Players are now able to plan better for participating in tournaments abroad since they know that the local tournament they participate finishes on a given date. Before they took a gamble some times when entering either a local or an international competition and had to withdraw from one of the two.
3. Clubs hosting tournaments were recipients of constant complains from their members that the tournaments occupied the courts way too long and they couldn't practice. It is not unreasonable to pay somewhere annual subscription and complain when for 1 month you can't really use the courts and enjoy what you have paid for.
4. Club coaches were losing serious income due to unavailability of courts at their clubs for weeks.
5. The running expenses of clubs are also much higher when tournaments last 3-5 weeks instead of 2. Most clubs do not have the financial caliber to host a tournament that would go for a month.
Therefore, for all of the above reasons the Federation has decided to have a limit on the number of players participating in a tournament by scheduling 2 tournaments at a time (one with more ranking points and one with less). The only exceptions are the 2 National Tournaments of each year at the National Tennis Center in Nicosia. You must be referring to the Field Club tournament that your son could not play when Yeroskipou was on since there is no other tournament when the National Tournament takes place.
Please note that each organizer can give up to 4 wild cards to the qualifying draws of its tournament and this can be a partial remedy to the issue of players without national ranking. In addition, naturally the "lower" ranking tournaments attract/accept more players with low ranking or without one, making it easier for players to start earning ranking points. Also the tournaments with the lower ranking have no participation limit and accept all players who are eligible to play and register. All these prove that the system is not so hostile afterall to players attempting to win their first points and that the Federation has established a level playing field for all of its athletes.
We understand that it is not ideal to live in Nicosia and "be forced" to play in a tournament outside your city, but there are tournaments with fewer points in closer proximity than Yeroskipou or Limassol that you mention. In fact there is one in Nicosia at the Bank of Cyprus Sporting Club on 1-14 July 2012. Distances in Cyprus are not that long anyway. One might live in a big European city and will need to travel over an hour in order to play a tournament in his own city. Finally, most clubs organize "closed" tournaments for their members which do not carry national ranking. This serves kids who love playing and it also helps them to raise their level and eventually play at national level.
Regarding your question why there are no more tournaments scheduled each year, please note that all members of the Federation can only host one national tournament per year. Having more than one will impose a huge financial burden to the clubs, to the people involved in running it and to the players plus it will be very challenging to fit all tournaments in a year's calendar. On the other hand, having more tournaments in Nicosia instead of the rest of Cyprus would seriously undermine the effort of the Cyprus Tennis Federation to spread competitive tennis throughout Cyprus.
Let me reassure you that the approach of the Federation has yielded many champions with significant international success in all age divisions for a number of years and today. At the same time there is also a very large number of players who have no ambitions of becoming champions but they still participate in almost every tournament just for pleasure. Thus, yes we strongly believe that we promote a healthy lifestyle for children and encourage them to have fun playing the sport. Furthermore, the issue you have brought up in your letters is in essence due to the large number of players playing tennis, therefore the Federation has succeeded in attracting many children to the sport.
To conclude this letter we would like to assure you that we strive to constantly improve things at the local tournaments and will look into ways that could allow more players without ranking "access" to more tournaments.
Demetris J. Leontis
Chairman of Technical Committee
Cyprus Tennis Federation