FORMER tennis pro and highly renowned coach Bill Madafferi has taken over the reins as president of the Sunraysia District Tennis Association (SDTA).
Madaffari replaces John Creamer and despite the season being postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said he was looking forward to the challenge ahead.
"I've been here (Sunraysia) now for about two and years and I thought it was time I got a bit more actively involved in the administration side of things," Madaferri said.
"We are like every other sport - we are facing the same challenges, but I have some ideas about what direction the game locally should be taken in."
Madafferi was one of Australia's top young junior players and spent several years overseas competing on the professional tennis circuit before becoming a successful tennis coach in Melbourne.
Madaffari said it was important to increase junior participation at all levels and to provide a pathway for young players.
"We need to look at how the game is played in our region and develop a plan that provides a clear pathway for young players," Madaffari said.
"Tennis is a game you can play your whole life and it's my role as a tennis coach and now as SDTA president to instil that love of the game from a young age.
"When I was growing up playing tennis as a junior in Melbourne, we were mentored by older players and that is how we learnt and developed our game.
"I would like to think in our premier league we can put a similar structure in place which provides the opportunity for younger players - our best juniors to play at the top level."
Under Madafarri's proposed plan each top division side would have two senior and two junior players.
The junior players would compete against each other in singles, but have the opportunity to play doubles with the senior players of the team, giving them exposure to the best players in the region.
Madaffari said he was hopeful the season would not be cancelled completely and would look at a different structure if it was shortened by an extended period.
"Who knows what is going to happen - we just have to wait and continue to take our advice from people who know a lot better than us," he said.
"These are very difficult times, but I would not be against playing a six round season if later in the year we get the green light to start playing again, but that's really the unknown at this stage and we will cross that bridge when we get to it."