WILD CARD BONANZA FOR TENNIS JUNIORS

Mangaung, South Africa - The careers of four winners of the South African Junior Tennis Nationals which ended in Bloemfontein on Wednesday have been given a welcome boost.

Some of the winners from Gauteng Province from left; Bertus Kruger (Boys 18), Kholo Montsi (Boys 14), Devin Badenhorst (Boys 12), Jordan Georgieva (Boys 10) and Tayla Van Eck (Girls 18).

Picture credit: BLD Communications


Tennis South Africa (TSA) confirmed that the national under 18 boy and girl winner will be awarded a wild card into the main draw of one of the three Digicall Futures weeks to be played later this year.

Meanwhile the under 16 boy and girl winners would also be given wildcards but into the Curro Junior ITF International Junior Tournament to be played in Stellenbosch in September.

“We need to make the most of every opportunity in hosting international tournaments in our country” admitted Gavin Crookes, President of TSA. “I am most grateful to the organisers of the Futures and ITF Juniors in partnering TSA in giving this golden opportunity to our deserved juniors who hopefully will take up the opportunity and earn world ranking points to assist them with their careers.”

Bertus Kruger of Gauteng Central captured the boys under 18 singles title when he upset top seeded Damon Kasaris of KwaZulu Natal 6-2 6-3. An “out of sorts” Kasaris was no match for left handed Kruger in the battle of the Junior Davis Cup teammates. Despite a strong start by Kasaris, Kruger found the important first break of the match at 2-2 in the opening set and dominated. Kasaris in the second set had four break point opportunities which he failed to capitalize on. “My forehand was on song and I felt confident with my ground strokes. It’s a great feeling to have finally won a national singles title and I hope that I can defend it next year” said Kruger.

Tayla Van Eck (Gauteng Central) beat Minette Van Vreden (Boland) 6-2 3-6 7-5 in the girls under 18 final. Despite having lost her serve in the opening game, Van Eck seeded two, broke back and raced to a 4-2 lead and held on to win the opener 6-2. Van Vreden, seeded four, fought hard in the second set, found the important break of serve in the sixth game and went on to win the set 6-3 forcing the decider. In the final set, both players held serve until the twelfth game when Van Eck found the break to win the set, match and title.

So as a bonus Kruger and Van Eck earn wild-cards into any week of their choice of the Digicall Futures to be played in Stellenbosch in September.

The boys under 16 title was won by local Free State hero, Phillip Henning. Henning of Grey High School seeded two upset the tournament favourite Justin Liebenberg 6-1 6-3 and dropped only one set in the five matches played en route to winning the title. Henning won his fifth national singles title in a row and joins former professionals Neville Godwin (7) and Jeff Coetzee (6) as the third most capped national singles winner in South African tennis history.
Port Elizabeth’s Kaylin Bouwer had the tournament of her life winning the double. Seeded four, Bouwer upset top seed Angela Georgieva of Johannesburg 6-4 7-5 in the girls under 16 final. The win by Bouwer who shocked top seed Corin De Waal in the semifinals, was her first national singles title. Bouwer also won the doubles title partnering Corin De Waal of Boland.

The Curro ITF wild cards will go to Henning and Bouwer for their efforts.

In the under 14 age group, tournament favourite Kholo Montsi and second seeded Makayla Loubser were victorious. Montsi easily took the boys title over fellow Pretorian, second seeded Connor Kruger 6-0 6-3. Loubser of Western Province upset top seed Lara Van Der Merwe from Potchefstroom in the North West 6-2 3-6 6-4 in a titanic battle that lasted two hours forty five minutes.

The under 12 titles went to top seeds Devin Badenhorst (Gauteng North) and Suzanie Pretorious (Free State). The under 10 titles were won by Jordan Georgieva of Johannesburg and Donna Le Roux of Bloemfontein, daughter of former Rugby Springbok, Ollie Le Roux.


SEEDS ANNOUNCED FOR TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA NATIONAL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Bloemfontein, South Africa - The seeds for this week’s Tennis South Africa National Junior Championship tournament were announced by Tennis South Africa (TSA) today (Wednesday).

This premier junior tennis event will be contested in four age groups namely the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 at four Bloemfontein tennis venues with the semi-finals and finals on Monday and Tuesday the 28th and 29th of March played at the main venue, The Free State Tennis Stadium. The players will play in singles and doubles events within each of the age groups.

The five day event will be from 24-29 March, 2016.

The seeds were announced as follows;

Boys
12
1. Devin Badenhorst (GN)
2. Rohan Loubser (WP)
3. Yarona Morule (GN)
4. Gerard Henning (FS)
5. Benjamin Davidyan (WP)
6. Daniel Crowie (GC)
7. Benjamin Scott (GC)
8. Ernst Gouws (GC)

14
1. Khololwam Montsi (GN)
2. Connor Kruger (GN)
3. Andreas Scott (GC)
4. Damien Nezar (SWD)
5. Dylan Salton (GE)
6. Nikolai Hensberg (Bor)
7. Luan Krige (WP)
8. Tom McHugh (WP)

16
1. Justin Liebenberg (GC)
2. Philip Henning (FS)
3. Marno Stander (WP)
4. Charl Morgan (GC)
5. Pierre Malan (WP)
6. Christiaan Worst (GN)
7. Thando Longwe-Smit (WP)
8. Joubert Klopper (FS)

18
1. Damon Kesaris (KZN)
2. Bertus Kruger (GC)
3. Jordan Sauer (GN)
4. Michael Copeland (GC)
7. Rossouw Norval (Bol)
6. Jandré Lessing (EP)
5. Richard Thongoana (GC)
8. Cameron Petersen (GC)

Girls
12
1. Suzanie Pretorius (FS)
2. Line Greyling (FS)
3. Leigh Van Zyl (Bol)
4. Naledi Manyube (SWD)
5. Mikayla Plitt (GE)
6. Marjuzel Venter (NC)
7. Martina Garnevska (GN)
8. Caitlyn Zietsman (EP)

14
1. Lara Van Der Merwe (NWP)
2. Makayla Loubser (WP)
3. Delien Kleinhans (FS)
4. Rochelle Pienaar (Bol)
6. Gizelle Naude (FS)
5. Alta Brink (Bol)
7. Ntokozo Zungu (GC)
8. Christine Kruger (FS)

16
1. Corin De Waal (Bol)
2. Angela Georgieva (GC)
3. Alexis Tensfeldt (GC)
4. Kaylin Bouwer (EP)
5. Megan Lombardi (WP)
6. Bianca Wolmarans (Bol)
7. Myah Petchey (WP)
8. Samantha Muller (GC)

18
1. Maxine Bateman (KZN)
2. Tayla Van Eck (GC)
3. Bianca Koen (GN)
4. Minette Van Vreden (Bol)
5. Imaan Hassim (GC)
6. Wilanie Van Zyl (EP)
7. Samantha Johnson (GE)
8. Casandra Metzer (GE)


WALES TO PLAY SPAR PROTEAS IN NETBALL TEST SERIES

WALES TO PLAY SPAR PROTEAS IN NETBALL TEST SERIES

Pretoria, South Africa

The SPAR Proteas and the South African U/21’s will play Wales in a SPAR Netball test series that is scheduled for June.

The baby SPAR Proteas will use the series as part of their preparations on the road to the Youth World Cup which will be in Botswana.

Netball South Africa CEO Blanche De la Guerre says “Wales are a great opponent and they have just the right sort of competitive culture to make this series very exciting.”

Ends


SOUTH AFRICAS BEST JUNIOR TENNIS PLAYERS TAKE OVER MANGAUNG

• Bloemfontein to host National Junior Tennis Championships

Bloemfontein, South Africa – A top entry of 562 of the country’s top junior tennis players are in the Free State capital, Mangaung for this week’s South African Junior Nationals.

South Africa’s premier junior tennis event will be contested in four age groups namely the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 at four Bloemfontein tennis venues. The players will play in singles and doubles events within each of the age groups.

The five day event to be played from 24-29 March, 2016.

The under 12 age group will play at Grey and Eunice schools with the under 14 playing at the University of Free State courts. The Free State Stadium will host the boys and girls under 16 and under 18 age groups.
All the semi-finals and finals on Monday and Tuesday the 28th and 29th of March will be played at the main venue, The Free State Tennis Stadium.

The South African Junior Nationals follows the Dunlop Free State Challenge the official warm up tournament for the nationals.

Acting Tennis South Africa (TSA) CEO Gavin Crookes said that the South African Junior Nationals formed an important part of the development of tennis in South Africa. “We at TSA take the development of tennis very seriously and see it as the future success of our sport. When you get over 500 of the country’s top junior players together in one city at one time you enable the players to battle amongst the best and off court have good social fun which is an important part of the growth of the players and the game.”

Crookes said that Bloemfontein was the perfect venue for the big event. “We have over the years chosen Bloemfontein to host the Junior National Championships due to the fact that they have a large amount of courts in fabulous condition, great tennis venues and an abundance of affordable accommodation. It made sense for TSA to partner with Free State Tennis and play our premier junior tennis event giving the players and their parents, coaches and academies an affordable and good tennis experience.”


SOUTH AFRICAN TENNIS JUNIORS TOPS IN AFRICA

Pretoria, South Africa - The South African junior tennis team reclaimed their number one position in Africa when they won the team trophy of the 39th ITF/CAT African Junior Championships which ended in Pretoria over the weekend.

The South African team that took paart in the 39th African Junior Championships played in Pretoria last week. The South African junior tennis team reclaimed their number one position in Africa when they won the team trophy of the 39th ITF/CAT African Junior Championships which ended in Pretoria on Saturday.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott

South African Philip Henning of Bloemfontein in action during the finals of the African Junior Championships on Saturday. Henning lost to Egyptian Yousef Khamis 6-7 (4) 2-6 at the University of Pretoria.

Makayla Loubser of South Africa, Cape Town in the girls 14 and under finals on Saturday. Loubser beat Aisha Niyonkuru of Burundi 7-5 6-3 to take the title.


Defending champions Egypt finished second with Morocco ending in third place over all.

In a dominant display of top class tennis played at the University of Pretoria, South African junior players in the under 14 and 16 age groups won 3 of the 8 titles up for grabs in the boys and girls competitions.

This performance gave the host nation enough points to end top of the log out of 29 countries participating. South Africa last won the title in 2012.

The lone South African singles title was won by Capetonian Makayla Loubser who beat Aisha Niyonkuru of Burundi 7-5 6-3 in the girls under 14. In the boys under 16, South African Philip Henning of Bloemfontein lost in the final to Egyptian Yousef Khamis 6-7 (4) 2-6.

In the doubles, South Africa won two titles and were a losing finalist in one age group.

“We are extremely proud of our juniors and their coaches and the tournament organisers” said Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa (TSA). “It was indeed a honour and privilege for the International Tennis Federation and Confederation of African Tennis to allow South Africa to host such a prestigious event. We did ourselves proud and with our juniors taking top honours it was the cherry on the cake.”

FINAL RESULTS OF THE AFRICAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Singles
Boys 14 and Under
Damien Laporte (Syc) bt Mickael Osewa (Ngr) 7-5 6-4

Boys 16 and Under
Yousef Khamis (Egy) bt Philip Henning (RSA) 7-6 (4) 6-2

Girls 14 and Under
Makayla Loubser (RSA) bt Aisha Niyonkuru (Bdi) 7-5 6-3

Girls 16 and Under
Sada Nahimana (Bdi) bt Diae El Jardi (Mad) 6-0 6-4

Doubles
Boys 14 and Under
Assil Boussairy/Younes Adnane (Mri) w/o 1-Damien Laporte/Ryan Randiek (Ken) (Laporte and Randiek withdrew)

Boys 16 and Under
3-Philip Hennig/Justin Liebenberg (RSA) bt Christiaan Worst/Thando Longwe-Smit (RSA) 6-2 6-4

Girls 14 and Under
1-Makayla Loubser/Lara Van Der Merwe (RSA) bt 3-Hania Abouelsaad/Lina Ali (Egy) 6-2 6-3

Girls 16 and Under
1-Oumaima Aziz/Diae El Jardi (Mri) bt 2-Zarah Lennon/Celestine Ella (Mri) 6-4 6-3


EASTER TIME IS TENNIS TIME IN BLOEMFONTEIN

Pretoria, South Africa - As the Easter holidays approach, the Free State capital Mangaung is gearing itself up for feast of top junior tennis.

Bloemfontein will once again host the Dunlop Free State Challenge from Saturday 19 March to Wednesday 23 March. The tournament is a major event on the national junior tennis calendar and is part of the Tennis South Africa (TSA) Series.
The Dunlop Free State Challenge also is an important warm up event for the South African National Junior Tennis Championships which will also be hosted by Bloemfontein from Thursday 24 March to Tuesday 29 March.

Free State Tennis, hosts of the tournament said that five venues would be used in the greater Bloemfontein area to play the tournament, with the Free State Tennis Stadium being the main site.
The other venues are; University of Free State, Grey College, Eunice High School and Mudd Plein Tennis Club.

So Easter time is proving to be tennis time as over 700 juniors from all over South Africa converge on Mangaung over the next fortnight.

The seeds for the Dunlop Free State Challenge were announced as follows;

Boys
12 and under
1-Connor Van Schalkwyk (Nam)
2-Devin Badenhorst (GN)
3-Gerard Henning (FS)
4-Benjamin Davidyan (WP)
5-Daniel Crowie (GC)
6-Benjamin Scott (GC)
7-Aleksander Simovski (GN)
8-Ernst Gouws (GC)

14 and under
1-Codie Van Schalkwyk (GC)
2-Connor Kruger (GN)
3-Tatenda Mutetwa (GE)
4-Dylan Salton (GE)
5-Nikolai Hensberg (Bor)
6-Luan Krige (WP)
7-Tom McHugh (WP)
8-William Zulch (GC)

16 and under
1-Philip Henning (FS)
2-Marno Stander (WP)
3-Charl Morgan (GC)
4-Pierre Malan (WP)
5-Aaron Marks (WP)
6-Joubert Klopper (FS)
7-Gerhard Swart (GN)
8-Gerhardt Becker (GN)

Men
1-Bertus Kruger (GC)
2-Richard Thongoana (GC)
3-Jandre Lessing (EP)
4-Sipho Montsi (GN)
5-Nikolai Manchev (KZN)
6-Christian Van Der Wath (Bol)
7-Juan-Louis Van Antwer (GC)
8-Hubert Badenhorst (FS)

Girls
12 and under
1-Suzanie Pretorius (FS)
2-Line Greyling (FS)
3-Leigh Van Zyl (Bol)
4-Naledi Manyube (SWD)
5-Marjuzel Venter (NC)
6-Martina Garnevska (GN)
7-Caitlyn Zietsman (EP)
8-Heike Janse Van Vuure (Bol)

14 and under
1-Alta Brink (Bol)
2-Gizelle Naude (FS)
3-Christine Kruger (FS)
4-Maretha Burger (Bol)
5-Inge Greyling (FS)
6-Kylie Misdorp (KZN)
7-Megan Basson (GC)
8-Mieke Van Deventer (GC)

16 and under
1-Lara Van Der Merwe (NWP)
2-Bianca Wolmarans (Bol)
3-Myah Petchey (WP)
4-Evangeline Du Toit (Bol)
5-Carmen Fichardt (FS)
6-Delien Kleinhans (FS)
7-Lungile Ntuli (WP)
8-Mia Dittberner (GN)

Women
1-Maxine Bateman (KZN)
2-Tayla Van Eck (GC)
3-Bianca Koen (GN)
4-Angela Georgieva (GC)
5-Minette Van Vreden (Bol)
6-Amelie Boy (MRI)
7-Imaan Hassim (GC)
8-Megan Lombardi (WP)


SPAR GRAND PRIX LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

Johannesburg, South Africa - The most sought-after title in women’s road running, the SPAR Grand Prix, is 10 years old this year, and is celebrating by looking to the future.

Left to Right; Dr. Bernadus Van der Spuy (Chief Director Department of Sport and Recreation), Poppy Mlambo (Athlete), Mike Prentice (SPAR Group Marketing and/Merchandising Executive), Mapaseka Makhanya (Athlete), James Moloi (Central Gauteng Athletics President) and Rene Kalmer (Athlete) pose for a group picture.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, SPAR has announced that each of the runners who have won the Grand Prix title will take a promising junior runner under her wing. This mentorship programme will include the junior runners travelling to all five races with their mentors, and having access to advice about training, strategy and various aspects of competition.
The SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge series is by far the biggest in South Africa, with more than 100 000 women competing in the five races held around the country. Many of South Africa’s elite athletes have launched their careers in the SPAR Challenge, with runners like Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Zyl stamping their mark while still running as juniors.
In an environment where women’s sporting achievements are largely under-reported, the Challenge has been an opportunity for the top runners to receive the recognition they richly deserve.
The Grand Prix was launched in 2007 to consolidate the five SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races into a single series for elite athletes. It has proved highly successful, with South Africa’s top runners vying for the top spot and raising the profile of each of the five races, which are held in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Five of the six runners who have won the Grand Prix have either qualified, or are in the process of qualifying, for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this year, and Kalmer and Van Zyl both took part in the London Olympics in 2012.
Rene Kalmer has won the Grand Prix title three times and Irvette van Zyl has won it twice.Poppy Mlambo won the inaugural title. The ebullient Mapaseka Makhanya won in 2014, and the road running twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang Phalula took the title in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Kalmer said she was very excited about the mentorship programme.
“I think it’s awesome that we are going to mentor some of the junior runners,” she said.
“I feel privileged to be able to give something back.”
She said the junior runners would find that running was not always plain sailing, but their mentors would be there to help them through the bad patches.
“The juniors will travel to the SPAR races with us, so we will be able to advise them and to help them with training programmes and race tactics. I think we will be like a helpline for the juniors. It is all part of building for the future,” said Kalmer.
Ian Laxton, founder and coordinator of the Grand Prix, said the SPAR series had been a beacon of light for woman runners of all ages.
“At the elite end every single athlete considers these races to be the equivalent of national championships,” said Laxton.
“ Spar has assisted numerous runners establish and consolidate their careers in an environment where there is little opportunity other than trying to get into races overseas or moving up to ultra distances. The 10km distance is perfect because it caters for both established world-class runners as well as youngsters trying to make their mark.
“Moving into its second decade, the Spar Grand Prix is again opening the door for elite runners to earn big prize money, attract sponsors, run world class times, compete with international athletes coming into South Africa and offering them a unique opportunity to compete in world-class events without men. And now the addition of the junior-mentorship element will assist South African running to have a new generation of world class runners to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Rene, Elana Meyer and the Phalulas,” said Laxton.
SPAR Marketing Director Mike Prentice welcomed the mentorship programme.
“The SPAR Challenge races and the Grand Prix are among our most important sponsorships,” said Prentice.
“The Grand Prix has been going for 10 years now, and it has gone from strength to strength. With this programme, we will ensure that the current high standards will be maintained in the future, and our Grand Prix winners will be part of an exciting development programme.”
The prize money for the Grand Prix has been increased, with the winner taking home R160 000. The runner-up will receive R53 000 and the third-placed athlete R32 000. There are cash prizes for the top 15 athletes. There are also cash prizes for the top runners in the junior, veteran, master and grand master categories. Prize money for 2016 amounts to a whopping R405 000.
In another innovation, the winner of each race will be paid a bonus of R10 000, in addition to the race prize money.
The first race takes place from the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on April 17.


SPAR GRAND PRIX LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

Johannesburg, South Africa - The most sought-after title in women’s road running, the SPAR Grand Prix, is 10 years old this year, and is celebrating by looking to the future.

SPAR Grand Prix cake

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, SPAR has announced that each of the runners who have won the Grand Prix title will take a promising junior runner under her wing. This mentorship programme will include the junior runners travelling to all five races with their mentors, and having access to advice about training, strategy and various aspects of competition.
The SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge series is by far the biggest in South Africa, with more than 100 000 women competing in the five races held around the country. Many of South Africa’s elite athletes have launched their careers in the SPAR Challenge, with runners like Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Zyl stamping their mark while still running as juniors.
In an environment where women’s sporting achievements are largely under-reported, the Challenge has been an opportunity for the top runners to receive the recognition they richly deserve.
The Grand Prix was launched in 2007 to consolidate the five SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races into a single series for elite athletes. It has proved highly successful, with South Africa’s top runners vying for the top spot and raising the profile of each of the five races, which are held in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Five of the six runners who have won the Grand Prix have either qualified, or are in the process of qualifying, for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this year, and Kalmer and Van Zyl both took part in the London Olympics in 2012.
Rene Kalmer has won the Grand Prix title three times and Irvette van Zyl has won it twice.Poppy Mlambo won the inaugural title. The ebullient Mapaseka Makhanya won in 2014, and the road running twins, Diana-Lebo and Lebogang Phalula took the title in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Kalmer said she was very excited about the mentorship programme.
“I think it’s awesome that we are going to mentor some of the junior runners,” she said.
“I feel privileged to be able to give something back.”
She said the junior runners would find that running was not always plain sailing, but their mentors would be there to help them through the bad patches.
“The juniors will travel to the SPAR races with us, so we will be able to advise them and to help them with training programmes and race tactics. I think we will be like a helpline for the juniors. It is all part of building for the future,” said Kalmer.
Ian Laxton, founder and coordinator of the Grand Prix, said the SPAR series had been a beacon of light for woman runners of all ages.
“At the elite end every single athlete considers these races to be the equivalent of national championships,” said Laxton.
“ Spar has assisted numerous runners establish and consolidate their careers in an environment where there is little opportunity other than trying to get into races overseas or moving up to ultra distances. The 10km distance is perfect because it caters for both established world-class runners as well as youngsters trying to make their mark.
“Moving into its second decade, the Spar Grand Prix is again opening the door for elite runners to earn big prize money, attract sponsors, run world class times, compete with international athletes coming into South Africa and offering them a unique opportunity to compete in world-class events without men. And now the addition of the junior-mentorship element will assist South African running to have a new generation of world class runners to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Rene, Elana Meyer and the Phalulas,” said Laxton.
SPAR Marketing Director Mike Prentice welcomed the mentorship programme.
“The SPAR Challenge races and the Grand Prix are among our most important sponsorships,” said Prentice.
“The Grand Prix has been going for 10 years now, and it has gone from strength to strength. With this programme, we will ensure that the current high standards will be maintained in the future, and our Grand Prix winners will be part of an exciting development programme.”
The prize money for the Grand Prix has been increased, with the winner taking home R160 000. The runner-up will receive R53 000 and the third-placed athlete R32 000. There are cash prizes for the top 15 athletes. There are also cash prizes for the top runners in the junior, veteran, master and grand master categories. Prize money for 2016 amounts to a whopping R405 000.
In another innovation, the winner of each race will be paid a bonus of R10 000, in addition to the race prize money.
The first race takes place from the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town on April 17.


SOUTH AFRICA TO HOST THE AFRICAN JUNIOR TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pretoria, South Africa - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and tennis South Africa (TSA) jointly announced that the 39th African Junior Championships would be hosted in South Africa,
The Championships will be played from Wednesday 9th March to Friday 18th March at the HPC at the University of Pretoria.

120 players from 28 countries are set to take to the hard courts to contest this year’s individual and team trophies in the 14 & Under and 16 & Under events.
Also up for grabs will be the all-important team trophy, which was won by Egypt in 2015. Egypt, who has already wrapped up the boys’ singles title at the recently contested 18 & Under will be facing stiff competition this year from hosts, South Africa, along with Tunisia which claimed the girls’ singles title of the 18 & Under event at home and Morocco.

Most of the players arrived over the weekend to acclimatise to the high altitude conditions in Pretoria. The girls 16 & Under event will be headed by Sada Nahimana of Burundi, who will be looking to win her third African Junior Championship title in as many years, after winning the 14 & Under titles in 2014 and 2015.

Yousef Khamis of Egypt, ranked 230 in the world junior rankings, heads the entry in the 16 & Under boys event. Following some strong performances in the Southern African Junior Championships held in January, the South Africans look like a dominant force in both the girls and boys 14 & Under events.

This year’s Championship will be taking on a new format with an extensive round robin stage followed by play-off draws. The event comes to an end with the finals on Friday 18th March.
Participating teams : South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Benice, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Morocco, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.

South African team;

Boys 14 and Under
Kholo Montsi (GN)
Damien Nezar (SWD)
Connor Kruger (GN)
Andreas Scott (GC)

Boys 16 and Under
Philip Henning (FS)
Justin Liebenberg (GC)
Christiaan Worst (GN)
Thando Longwe-Smit (WP)

Girls 14 and Under
Lara van Der Merwe (NW)
Makayla Loubser (WP)
Delien Kleinhans (FS)
Rochelle Pienaar (Bol)

Girls 16 and Under
Corin De Waal (Bol)
Kaylin Bouwer (EP)
Maja Gledic (GC)
Angela Georgieva (GC)


UMPIRE SCORES BIG AT SPORTS AWARDS

Pretoria, South Africa – Last week Friday while playing the role of Chief of Umpires at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas South Africa vs Luxembourg tie in Pretoria, Tennis South Africa’s Mpho Makhoba was awarded Technical Official of the Year (amongst all sports) at the Gauteng School Sports Awards. The awards were held at a glitzy event in Boksburg.

Mpho Makhoba (left) receives her award for Technical Official of the Year (amongst all sports) from Tennis South Africa President Gavin Crookes during the Davis Cup, South Africa vs Luxembourg tie at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria on Friday.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Makhoba in 2015 was awarded International Umpire Silver Status in Morocco where she was one of only two participants, and the only woman. It was the first time a Silver Status had been awarded as a joint certification of the WTA, ITF and ATP. Makhoba became the first female official to receive an international qualification under the joint certification programme run by ITF incorporating the ATP and WTA.
Mpho is now the fourth South African female official to achieve an international Chief of Umpires qualification, former officials were Nelly Garvin, Louis Hartman and June Dunk (early 1990’s).


SOUTH AFRICA ROMP TO A 5-0 WIN OVER LUXEMBOURG IN DAVIS CUP

Pretoria, South Africa - A dominant South African Davis Cup team romped to a 5-0 win over Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria on Sunday.

The South African Davis Cup team from left; team Captain Marcos Ondruska, Tucker Vorster, Keith-Patrick Crowley, Dean O’Brien, Ruan Roelofse, team trainer Karen Vd Merwe and Lloyd Harris acknowledge the crowd after winning the tie 5 - 0 during day 3 of the Davis Cup Tie between South Africa and Luxembourg at Irene Country Club Centurion, Pretoria on Sunday.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


South Africa failed to lose a set in all five rubbers played in the three day tie and were in firm control throughout.

On Sunday in the reverse singles, which were reduced to best of three tie break sets as the tie had already been decided, Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris gave South Africa the clean sweep.

Vorster beat Tom Diederich 6-3 6-4 whilst Harris beat Alex Knaff 6-2 6-1 in front of an impressive and enthusiastic crowd.

Marcos Ondruska, the South African Captain said he couldn’t be happier with his first outing as captain. “I am extremely happy and proud of my team. It was a dream start to my Davis Cup captaincy and my players executed well and really lifted their games to a high level, kept composed and put on a good show. We failed to lose a set this weekend, didn’t take any set to a tiebreaker and that showed the form of the entire team was on point.”

Ondruska said that the solid win was a team effort. “The entire squad have got on extremely well and this played a huge part in the weekend success. The guys have had a fun time and made the most of every opportunity which helped a lot with the win.” Ondruska also thanked fifth squad member Keith-Patrick Crowley and trainer Karen Vd Merwe for their valuable contributions.

On Saturday the South African doubles team of Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse sealed the tie with a straight set win over Ugo Nastasi and Mike Scheidweiler 6-3 7-5 6-2. Vorster and Harris both opened procedures on Friday with identical score (6-1 6-4 6-4) wins over their respective opponents Alex Knaff and Udo Nastasi in the singles rubbers.

South Africa will now play Lithuania, away in Lithuania in round 2 from 15-17 July 2016.


SOUTH AFRICA CLINCH DAVIS CUP TIE OVER LUXEMBOURG

Pretoria, South Africa - A delighted South African Davis Cup team celebrated with a lap of honour around the Irene Country Club match court after beating Luxembourg 3-0 on Saturday.

From left, Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse in action during the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas South Africa vs Luxembourg doubles rubber on Saturday. O’Brien and Roelofse beat Luxembourgers Ugo Nastasi and Mike Scheidweiler 6-3 7-5 6-2 on Saturday at the Irene Country Club.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse gave the hosts the victory when they beat the hot Highveld weather and Luxembourgers Ugo Nastasi and Mike Scheidweiler 6-3 7-5 6-2 in one hour thirty nine minutes.

South African singles players, Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris put South Africa into a comfortable overnight position after both winning their respective singles rubbers in straight sets on Friday.

Marcus Ondruska, the South African captain was delighted with the win especially seeing it was his maiden outing as captain. “The win was real good for not only the country but the players. My players executed like true professionals and they lifted their games to a good level.”

Ondruska admitted that although his team had won 3-0 it was never easy. “Each and every Davis Cup tie has its challenges. The rankings play a small part and anything can happen at any time in Davis Cup competition, and we’ve seen that happen over the years. My boys brought a lot to the table, prepared well and enjoyed each other on and off the court which made the big difference out there.”

Roelofse said that O’Brien and himself were never worried during the match especially in the second set where they were extended to twelve games by their opponents. “We made a real solid start which set the tone for the rubber. I was serving well, holding serve with some ease which took off the pressure. I had a high percentage of first serves and that made it easier. In fact I’m impressed with myself having lost only four points on serve throughout the rubber. We were always ahead and never worried.”

O’Brien said that going into Saturday’s doubles Luxembourger, Ugo Nastasi had the advantage having had played in the singles on Friday which gave him a good feel for the court and conditions.

“Ruan and I didn’t do anything special. We played solid and kept percentage which paid off. It was great that we could get on top of our opponents early as Nastasi had played Friday and knew the conditions which we didn’t know” said O’Brien.

O’Brien concluded that he was very happy with the South African teams overall performance. “We are all really playing well and having not dropped a set in two days shows the good form we are in.”

South Africa now wait for the winner of the Lithuanian vs Norway tie being played also this weekend in Siauliai, Lithuania.

On Sunday the reverse singles will be played starting at 10h00 however both singles rubbers will be reduced to the best of three tie-break sets.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters

Order of Play/Results

Friday 4 March 2016 (10h00)
Tucker Vorster (RSA) bt Alex Knaff (Lux) 6-1 6-4 6-4
Lloyd Harris bt Ugo Nastasi (Lux) 6-1 6-4 6-4

Saturday 5 March 2016 (12h00)
Dean O’Brien/Ruan Roelofse (RSA) bt Mike Scheidweiler/Ugo Nastasi (Lux) 6-3 7-5 6-2


SOUTH AFRICA START STRONG AGAINST LUXEMBOURG IN DAVIS CUP

Pretoria, South Africa - It seems that Davis Cup team mates Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris planned a similar day at the Irene Country Club in Pretoria on Friday.

South Africa’s number two Lloyd Harris in action at the Irene Country Club on his Davis Cup debut match on Friday. Harris beat Luxembourg’s number one Ugo Nastasi 6-1 6-4 6-4 during the second rubber of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas South Africa vs Luxembourg tie being played at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria.

Tucker Vorster, powers his way through in the first rubber of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas South Africa vs Luxembourg. Vorster, who is South Africa’s number one beat Luxembourg’s number two Alex Knaff 6-1 6-4 6-4 at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria on Friday.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


The South African number one and two players won their respective singles matches with the identical score over their Luxembourger opponents to give their country a 2-0 lead after day one.

It was a dream start for the hosts in their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Group 2 first round tie and for debutant Captain Marcos Ondruska. Ondruska said he was pleased with his players performances. “Tucker and Lloyd impressed in very tricky conditions. And I have always said that the true character of the players comes out in the tricky situations and both passed with flying colours. We don’t want to get too excited and ahead of ourselves but this is a dream start. There is still a lot of tennis to be played over the next two days and the doubles rubber tomorrow is key. We will go all out to seal the victory tomorrow.”

Vorster opened up for South Africa and admittedly by Vorster himself he didn’t play his best tennis but played well enough to beat Alex Knaff 6-1 6-4 6-4 in two hours thirteen minutes. “The conditions were tough but I kept a good attitude throughout and felt I was very competitive which carried me through. It’s always special to play at home in front of my family and friends and I hope more fans come out to support our team this weekend.”

It was then the turn of 19 year old Lloyd Harris of Cape Town to make his Davis Cup debut for South Africa. Harris impressed first time out as he upset his Luxembourg number one opponent Ugo Nastasi with the identical score of his team mate, 6-1 6-4 6-4 however in a lesser time of one hour fourty two minutes. I fist pump to his teammates on clinching match point showed the importance of the win to Harris.
“Today’s win will certainly go down as one of the highlights of my young career. I felt I played well and controlled the match from the start. My good form of late continues and hopefully will get better on Sunday.”

The heat was on at a whopping 36C and the on court temperature some several degrees higher and this certainly effected the Luxembourgers admitted their Captain Johny Goudenbour. “It was very hot out there and the balls were flying. The hotter it got the faster the balls moved and it was real difficult for my players under these conditions.”

On Saturday the doubles rubber which starts at 12 noon will see South Africans Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse up against Ugo Nastasi and Mike Scheidweiler of Luxembourg.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters

Order of Play/Results

Friday 4 March 2016 (10h00)
Tucker Vorster (RSA) bt Alex Knaff (Lux) 6-1 6-4 6-4
Lloyd Harris vs. Ugo Nastasi (Lux) 6-1 6-4 6-4


LUXEMBOURG NUMBER ONE GILLES MULLER FAILS TO ARRIVE IN SOUTH AFRICA AHEAD OF DAVIS CUP DRAW

Pretoria, South Africa – There were no surprises when the official draw of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Group 2 tie between South Africa and Luxembourg was conducted Thursday morning at the Irene Dairy Farm in Pretoria.
Rumours about a possible late arrival of Luxembourg’s top player Gilles Muller ranked 46 in the world to join his team were sidelined when the Luxembourger failed to arrive in the country at the deadline to sign in an hour before the official draw at 10hh00 on Thursday.

The official draw of the Davis Cup by BNP Pariba Euro/Africa Group 2 tie, South Africa vs Luxembourg was conducted at the Irene Dairy Farm, Pretoria on Thursday. Pictured from left to right are team Luxembourg; Alex Knaff, Tom Diederich, Ugo Nastasi, Mike Scheidweiler and Captain Johny Goudenbour. South Africa take on Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria from 4 to 6 March.

Enjoying certified raw unpasteurized milk at the Irene Dairy Farm during the official Davis Cup by BNP Paribas draw on Thursday are team South Africa from left to right; Ruan Roelofse, Lloyd Harris, Tucker Vorster, Captain Johny Goudenbour and Dean O’Brien. The Irene Dairy Farm dates back to 1895 and is one of the few urban farms operating in South Africa. South Africa take on Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club, Pretoria from 4 to 6 March.

Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


Muller was never nominated by the Luxembourg Tennis Federation when nominations had to be submitted to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) ten days ahead of the tie. However the ITF rules stipulate that the nomination can be changed up at an hour before the official draw. Rumours were rife that Muller who lost early in the ATP Acapulco event and withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open ATP Masters starting next week in Indian Wells, would jet into South Africa as a surprise tactical inclusion in the Luxembourg team for this weekend’s tie.
Luxembourg Captain, Johny Goudenbour since arriving in the country Saturday confirmed that Muller was not with the team but that the Luxembourger number one could still arrive. “We never know with Gilles when he could possibly make an appearance and by Wednesday he had not arrived but with Gilles you never know. He is a proud Luxembourger and has vast Davis Cup experience and will do his best whenever schedules allow to represent his country.”

South African number one, Tucker Vorster of Pretoria will get South Africa’s weekend campaign under way against Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club tomorrow (Friday). Tucker will play Luxembourger number two, Alex Knaff in the opening rubber. Knaff’s name was drawn first out the hat for the first singles rubber at the draw made at the historic Irene Dairy Farm (started in 1895) and officiated by ITF Referee of Israel.
It will be the first meeting between Vorster and Knaff.
This will be the fourth time that 27 year old Vorster will step onto court in the green and gold. Knaff is aged 18 is one of the brightest prospects to come out of Luxembourg and has enjoyed a success international junior career.

The second singles rubber on Friday will see South African number two Lloyd Harris of Cape Town up against Luxembourg number one Ugo Nastasi. Harris will make his Davis Cup debut on Friday.
“I am very excited and honoured to be playing for South Africa in Davis Cup” said Harris. “I have dreamed of this moment and it’s really a dream come true for me. I have been in great form of late and feel confident that I can take that form into the weekend. I am ready to give of my best.”
The absence of Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen has somewhat weakened the South African line-up but Captain Marcos Ondruska and his team remain upbeat about their chances at home this weekend. “We can’t rely on Kevin and Raven due to their schedules. I have a young and enthusiastic team that are totally committed to their country and as new Davis Cup Captain I will be focusing on building the future of Davis Cup with these ‘young guns’ ” said Ondruska.

Ondruska named Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse as his doubles team for the 12 noon Saturday rubber. They will play Mike Scheidweiler and Ugo Nastasi.
“I see this as an opportunity to nail down the tie in the doubles match on Saturday,” said O’Brien. “Hopefully by the time Ruan and I play the doubles South Africa will be leading so that we can sew up the result before the start of Sunday’s reverse singles.”
O’Brien is South Africa’s third highest ranked player at 124 on the world doubles ranking after Klaasen and Anderson and has enjoyed a successful run with Roelofse (ranked 130) on the ATP Tour.

The playing programme;
Friday singles (start 10h00 – after the official opening ceremony at 09h45): Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs Alex Knaff (Lux) followed by Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs. Ugo Nastasi (Lux),
Saturday doubles (start 12h00): Dean O’Brien (RSA) and Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. Mike Scheidweiler (Lux) and Ugo Nastasi (Lux).
Sunday reverse singles (10h00): Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. Ugo Nastasi (Lux), Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs. Alex Knaff (Lux).

Teams
South Africa: Tucker Vorster, Lloyd Harris, Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse. Captain: Marcos Ondruska
Luxembourg: Ugo Nastasi, Alex Knaff, Mike Scheidweiler and Tom Diederich. Captain: Johny Goudenbour


THE HEAT ON AND OFF THE COURT IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP CAMP IS “SIZZLING

Pretoria, South Africa - When teammates Dean O’Brien and Keith-Patrick Crowley took off their shirts during practice on Wednesday they offered some “mouthwatering” viewing for some of the fans that passed by the Irene Country Club to watch the local team train ahead of this weekend Davis Cup tie South Africa vs Luxembourg.

from left; South African Davis Cup team members Dean O’Brien and Keith-Patrick Crowley at the Irene Country Club ahead of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas South Africa vs Luxembourg tie to be played from 4 to 6 March.

Picture credit: Reg Caldecott


Both O’Brien and Crowley are other than professional tennis players on the ATP World Tour, part time models on the international circuit and their athletic builds compliment their good looks and will surely offer some real “eye candy” for the fans that come out to the Irene Country Club for the tie.

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters


DAVIS CUP PRE-DRAW: SA vs LUXEMBOURG

• South Africa upbeat ahead of Davis Cup clash
• Luxembourg on a “high” at altitude

Pretoria South Africa – South African Davis Cup captain, Marcos Ondruska was upbeat at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Group 2 tie South Africa vs Luxembourg pre-draw media conference held in Pretoria on Tuesday. Ondruska told the media at the Irene Country Club that his team had settled and were in good spirits. “I have a good bunch of guys who are fit, strike the ball well and are happy and funny and the mood in the camp after two days of practise is upbeat”.

Ondruska said that he was on track with his preparations and was confident his team would be reaching their peak by the weekend. “We don’t want to peak too soon so we slowly preparing each player to be ready by the weekend” said Ondruska.

It seemed that Ondruska was still sticking to his plan of playing Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris in the singles and Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse in the doubles over the weekend. The Captain has however also brought Keith-Patrick Crowley into the squad and Crowley could play come Friday should any of the named four player be injured or lose form ahead of the official draw on Thursday.

Vorster, a native of Pretoria said he was happy to be back in his home town and encouraged the fans to come out to support South Africa.

The Luxembourg team admitted that without their star player Gilles Muller being on their side, they had a weakened chance. Captain Johny Goudenbour said “We not sure if Gilles will arrive or not but at this stage he won’t be playing and that obviously isn’t great for us. Gilles is a top 50 player with a lot of experience and would bring a strong chance to the team.”

The Luxembourg Davis Cup team from left to right; Mike Scheidweiler, Tom Diederich, team Captain Johny Goudenbour Ugo Nastasi and Alex Knaff on Tuesday at the Irene Country Club during the pre-draw press conference.

The South African Davis Cup team from left to right; Dean O’Brien, Ruan Roelofse, team Captain Marcos Ondruska, Tucker Vorster and Lloyd Harris at the Irene Country Club on Tuesday during the pre-draw press conference.

Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


It seems as if the high altitude has troubled the Luxembourgers and made practise very difficult. Luxembourg number one Ugo Nastasi said that the balls were “flying” around the court and high altitude was a big challenge. “The court is fast and balls are flying and its taking some time to get used to the altitude but each practise has been better than the last and we are sure we will be ready by Friday” said Nastasi.

The South African Davis Cup team will go up against Luxembourg at the Irene Country Club for their Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Europe/Africa Group 2 tie from 4-6 March.

The South African team is made up of players Tucker Vorster, Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse, Dean O’Brien, Keith-Patrick Crowley and team Captain Marcos Ondruska

South Africa is ranked 56 and Luxembourg is ranked 58 on the Davis Cup world rankings. This is the first time the two nations will be playing each other.

Programme for the tie:
Friday 4 March: 9.45am: Opening Ceremony. The first singles match will start at 10am with the second rubber following immediately thereafter.
Saturday 5 March: 12.00pm: Doubles Match
Sunday 6 March: 10am: First reverse singles match, followed by final singles match.
All the matches are played as the best of five sets until a result has been achieved.

Tickets to the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Euro/Africa Zone Group 2 South Africa vs Luxembourg tie are available at R100.00 per person and at R250 for a season ticket (three day ticket) via Webtickets.co.za and instore at Pick n Pay’s with Money Counters

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