The Hong Kong Tennis Association and the local tennis community are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Hu Fa-kuang GBM, GBS, CBE, JP at the age of 98. Dr. Hu was President of the HKTA from 1969-1972 and 1976-1983. His lifelong devotion to tennis was enormous and many key programmes launched under his leadership lay the groundwork for the development of the game. Under his presidency, the transition of the then HKLTA to a more professional outfit began to take shape with improved funding and witnessed, in particular, the advent of the Junior Development Programme and the training of coaches in order to expand the game at the grassroots level.
One of the most significant direction taken during this time was the effort put into development with the formation of the Community Section of the Association in 1976 to develop a competitive system by which the interest level and playing standard of junior players could be raised. The section’s primary objective was the rapid classification of juniors by age group and the commencement of intra-club, inter-club, and citywide junior tournaments based on age group ladders. There was also the need for more tennis players to receive basic instruction at the grassroots level and the training of coaches was another priority since the Association has to become dependent upon local coaches to carry out a properly formulated development programme.
The HKTA held its first coaching clinic for coaches by completing arrangements for Peter Burwash International to send to coaches to Hong Kong to give instructions and demonstrations of mass coaching to school children and Physical Education teachers, including public demonstrations and exhibitions as well as open coaching clinics for the general public in order to popularise the sport.
It was during this expansion that the fledgling National Junior Squad began to take off producing players the calibre of Kelvin Inge and Patricia Hy, who managed to showcase their talents outside of Asia and to the Junior Grand Slams and beyond. The Association also took the next major step in its long-term plan of participating in international competitions with Hong Kong accepted to compete in the Federation Cup for the first time in 1981 and the Davis Cup in 1982 after an absence of seven years.
The transition from lawn tennis to synthetic hardcourts experienced by the Australian and US Opens also took shape in Hong Kong when the Closed Hardcourt Championships started in 1978 with Victoria Park as the designated venue. As the 21st century approached, the event was renamed the Hong Kong National Tennis Championships.
His passion for the sport also saw him assume the positions of President of Asian Tennis Federation, President of East Asia Tennis Association, the founding President of the Hong Kong Veterans’ Tennis Association in 1988, and the Honorary Vice President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC).
Dr. Hu received the ITF Award for Services to the Game in 1988.