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Azar takes centre court - New Tennis boss targets increased sponsorship and int’l tennis in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | May 2, 2019 | 12:28 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Newly elected Tennis Jamaica (TJ) president John Azar is confident he and his team will make a big difference to the sport during his tenure, citing increased sponsorship and a return of international tennis to Jamaica as his main areas of focus.

Azar was elected to local lawn tennis’ top post at the association’s annual general meeting (AGM), which was held at the office of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) on Tuesday, and he told The Gleaner he was excited about the challenge and aims to rectify some of the perceived issues he believes have stifled the development of the game locally.

He was elevated to the post unopposed after previous president Aswad Morgan decided not to contest the election and no other challenger emerged. The King Alarm managing director stated that his company intends to lead the way in sponsorship while promising to bring back international tennis to local soil.

“I am excited. It’s an opportunity and it is challenging. There is no question about it, but I feel excited about making a big difference in the sport.

Opportunity to work

For years, I believed things could have and should have been handled differently, and I welcome the opportunity to work with a good team and I think we will make a difference. There are issues but we will work together and once we get the tennis family working together as one, I do believe we will move mountains,” Azar said.

“When you create the right environment around the sport, making it positive and fun, sponsors will actually come forward. Sponsors want to associate their brand with something positive and I intend to lead with my brand. I cannot go out and say to corporate Jamaica line up and support tennis unless I am doing that myself and they see that I personally believe in the brand. So you can look for some sponsorship announcements from our group of companies, and I am confident other companies will come forward because if the product is right and the atmosphere sound, there is no reason why corporate Jamaica should not align with us,” Azar continued.

The new TJ boss says he wants to improve communication with the memberships, create a more harmonious environment and increase fundraising.

However, one of his major targets is to return international tennis to Jamaica.

“Jamaica has not hosted an international tennis event in over a decade, and for that, stay tuned. We are looking to host one before the year’s out, with top players coming down, and it is something I am confident persons will come out and line up to see. We want to bring fun and interest back to the sport, and I don’t see why it can’t be done. It will take unity among all stakeholders, working together, and I genuinely believe in the sport,” he commented.

Meanwhile, only one of the six positions were contested at the AGM after Nigel Casserly pulled out of the race for third vice president, as a mark of respect to his former coach, Errol Campbell, his challenger.

In the only contested ballot, Dwayne Pagon defeated Llockett McGregor for the second vice- president position. Aubyn Hill (first VP), Nancy Pinchas (secretary), and Kristopher Martin (treasurer) make up the rest of Azar’s team. The election of directors was postponed.