Tennis tourney excites juniors

The junior tennis competitions currently under way in Windhoek brought together young players from different countries.

10 January 2017 | Sports

Junior tennis players are happy with the opportunity to take part in the Southern African Junior Individual and Team Championships that started in Windhoek yesterday.

Speaking to Namibian Sun just after his match was one of the country's top under-14 players, Connor van Schalkwyk.

“I am excited about this tournament, because it is an opportunity for me to qualify for the Africa Junior Championships, which is not easy because you have to be in the top eight to make it,” he said, describing his first match, which he won.

Another Namibian U-14 player, Hendrina Appollus, could also not hide her excitement about the championships, stating that it is a “great” tournament for the junior tennis players.

“It will be a great experience for some of the kids who have not played in such tournaments before,” she said.

Although Appollus was yet to play she said she was ready for her matches. “It will be even greater if I qualify for the AJC because I have never been there, as I will play against players from other countries and also just learning from them.”

Codie van Schalkwyk is Namibia's top U-16 player and was also excited about the tournament.

“I am very happy that Namibia is hosting it and I hope that we can do our best and try to win,” he said.

He described it as a tough competition as it a qualifier for the AJC. “It is tough as you have even more experienced players but I have prepared well and hopefully I can qualify.”

Thabo Ncube from Zimbabwe was over the moon that he made it into the team to Namibia, as it was his first visit to the country.

“I am quite excited to be here as conditions are also tough but I am prepared and really excited to take part in this competition,” he said.

He added that was an opportunity that all junior tennis players had to embrace and give their best shot.

Namibian coach Samuel Pretorius van Wyk described the tournament as a good opportunity, as the host country was allowed to enter more players.

“This gives the children a good idea of where they are in terms of their tennis skills because when they play here they are the best but when they go out they realise what they are so, these tournaments are really good for the children and they need to play in such tournaments,” he said.

Coach Kagiso Kelebeile from Botswana shared the same sentiments as his Namibian counterpart and said his team stood a chance of winning the competition.

The tournament is organised by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Namibia Tennis Association (NTA), with the support of the Grand Slam Development Fund (GSDF).

Top U-14 and U-16 players from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are competing in the tournament.

KAINO NGHITONGO

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