Richard Glover: Tennis South Africa's return of service

Richard Glover: Tennis South Africa's return of service

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These are crucial times for tennis in South Africa. When Richard Glover took over as CEO two years ago, the governing body was in a perilous financial state. Therefore his first job was to develop the organisation’s partnership portfolio. His second was to start schemes to develop the grass-roots of the game. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum and unrelated to Glover’s tenure, South African men’s No 1 Kevin Anderson reached the final of the US Open and Wimbledon. 

Richard Glover

Richard Glover

It has all created the correct conditions for a resurgence. 

But can Tennis South Africa close out the game when they are only a challenger sport in the country? What groups in this deeply sectionalised population are they targeting? Will the blazers or the country’s difficult history play a part? Where does social media fit in? How does a CEO balance short-term and long-term aims? And, most importantly, why are they talking about eating elephants? 


The complex environment for South African sport and the growth potential of tennis 

Where tennis ranks in the country and its immediate target.   

Breaking out of the ‘blazer mentality’ that has hampered South African sport. Why Glover, in his 40s, was a different appointment

His two immediate targets.

Linking early partnerships to participation and grassroots. Ignoring calls to bring over big players for tournaments.

Appealing to the female market. Partnering BNP Paribas with a mentorship targeting to towards black coaches.

Knocking down the perception of tennis in South Africa being “white and elitist”.

The effect of the success of Kevin Anderson and his 'difficult relationship' with the Federation.

Why South African have three men in the top 100 and yet the women’s No1 barely breaks the top 300

The balancing act of being a CEO for a governing body of a national sport   

Eating an elephant one spoon at a time.

Spoon 1, Spoon 2, Spoon 3.

The concept of beach tennis and its use in appealing to the young.

The organisation and resources at Tennis South Africa. 

Their use of social media and why they are underperforming.  

Their digital transformation and CRM solution. 

Setting up a national tennis centre for elite players.

The tipping point in five or six years when South African tennis youngsters will start popping up.

The unselfishness of focusing on the “root but not the fruit”.

His frustrations being on the periphery in an agency and the influence he can exert on tennis.

His learnings from being Commercial Director for South African cricket especially the power of perception.

Davis Cup and its strategic importance. Exploiting the new format of the competition. 

The gap that will be left when the leading men retire in the next few years. 

Tennis as an instrument for social change in South Africa.

The tipping point of creating a champion from the black population in South Africa.


Richard Glover on LinkedIN

Tennis South Africa: website, Twitter

Kevin Anderson


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