The Trustco NTA Junior Tennis Tournament held over the past weekend was a smash with 77 players between the ages of 8 and 18 years, hitting it off in Windhoek on Friday afternoon. With 170 matches being played on 22 courts, meticulous planning ensured that everything went smoothly. “It was a busy weekend sports-wise in the capital as many tennis players were engaged elsewhere in team sports, says organizer Santie van der Walt. Six of the top seeded under 15 boys were on tour participating in a Curro Schools Tournament in South Africa, while quite a few other players could also not compete this round as they were playing cricket and netball for their schools teams. However, there were no stopping enthusiastic tennis players old and new grasping the opportunity to earn ranking points and putting new skills to the test. With every tournament we see new faces and first-time entrants. This Trustco tournament saw 17 players under the age of 10 participating, which is extremely encouraging for the future of junior tennis. There is no denying the fact that the overall skill level of Namibian tennis is steadily improving”, says van der Walt. “We especially want to thank Trustco Group Holdings once again for their sponsorship. With a supportive partner like Trustco at our side, we are able to meet our obligations set out by the International Tennis Federation, become more professional in our conduct and develop the game of tennis throughout Namibia.”
In the boys under 10 division Luke Alvarey took gold by beating Joshua Diergaardt in a pro set 8-4 while Tadiwa Mombeyarara took bronze with a score of 8-3 against Breyton Bezuidenhout. Elrica Nakusera beat Victoria Jansen in the girls under 10 final 8-4 with Secilia Ngwitewapo coming in third place.
The boys under 12 division was dominated by the nine-year old Johan Theron who did not drop a single a set. He came out on top by beating Divan Engelbrecht 6-0 and 6-2 in the final. Kyle Els defeated Calvin Nduati 6-3 and 6-4 to take the bronze medal. Girls under twelve saw Linda Alemu taking gold with the Swakopmund players Natalia Ouses in second place and Hilya Nana Campbell in third place.
Girls under 14 was the most competitive group with 16 players competing in a knock-out format draw. In the quarter-finals, Hayley Kidd defeated 3rd seeded Zoe Bronkhorst while Santie van der Walt got the better of 4th seeded Odycia Karaerua. They were not strong enough however for the 1st and 2nd seeded Joanivia Bezuidenhout and Mari van Schalkwyk who displayed excellent skills with a good variety of shots and less unforced errors. The final was won by Bezuidenhout with a score of 6-1, 6-3 while Hayley Kidd took bronze. In the boys under 14 division the final was decided between the first seeded Abraham Alemu and 2nd seeded Antonio Tchivanda from Swakopmund. Tchivanda came out on top with a score of 6-1 and 6-1 while Lemuel Kahindi took 3rd place.
With 6 of the top boy players in the under 16 age group participating elsewhere, it opened an opportunity for players the likes of Stephan Koen and JH Esterhuizen to earn top ranking points. In the first semi-finals, 1st seeded Koen had a hard time against 12-year old Lian Kuhn but eventually got the better of him with a score of 4-6, 6-0 and 10-6. Eduan Schollij won JH Esterhuizen in the other semi-final with a score of 6-1, 6-0. The final saw Koen stepping up his game. He took gold against Schollij with a score of 6-4, 6-2. Esterhuizen won bronze. The girls held no surprises as 1st and 2nd seeded Raica Coelho and Larushka Kruger met in the final. Coelho dominated by taking gold with a score of 7-5 and 6-0. Dominique Theron took on Karla Terblanche for bronze and won with a score of 6-0 and 6-1.
Boys under 18 saw Sarel Janse van Rensburg, an under sixteen player, and Johannes Swartz fighting until the end with great tennis on display. The first set was taken by Janse van Rensburg with a score of 7-6 winning the tiebreak 9-7. The second set was dominated by Swartz as he fought to stay in the game and taking it with 6-4. In the end it was the last two points that had the final say. Janse van Rensburg triumphed in the super tiebreak that served as the third set with a score of 10-8 and thus walked away with the gold medal. Lorenzo Danster got the bronze medal.
The NTA would once again like to thank Trustco for treating the players to goodie bags, and both players and spectators to early morning coffee and muffins. A big thank you to the officials, parents, supporters and players for another successful junior tournament.