High school pupils to represent South Africa on Wimbledon tour
EXCITEMENT abounded yesterday as 21 high school tennis players gathered ahead of their departure to the UK for the annual Wimbledon tour.
Among them was Lwazi Ngwenya, 14, a Grade 8 pupil from Greenside High School, who could not contain his excitement about his fist international trip. Ngwenya, who started playing tennis at the tender age of six, said he “always had a feeling” that he would do well in tennis one day.
“I believe this trip is going to be a great experience for me and it will inspire me to do better with my tennis.
“I would like to learn strategies on how professional players play the game, shot selection and how to deal with the ball on different courts. It is my second time playing for South Africa,” Ngwenya said.
He said he owes it all to his father, Sibusiso Ngwenya, who is also his coach.
The father said an achievement like this was a long time coming for his son and he had put in all the work since the age of six. It was an affirmation that his son was on the right track, he said.
“It has been a hard slog and this year is the year that a lot of achievements started coming through after all the hard work we have been putting into his tennis. As a father and coach, I am very proud of what he has managed to achieve. It is rewarding for both of us,” Sibusiso Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya started playing tennis after his school advised his parents that he need to go for physiotherapy as his muscular structure was not the strongest.
“I just put a racket in his hand and he has been going ever since,” the proud father said.
Isabella Seroro, who turns 17 today, said she still could not believe that she is going to the UK. The Grade 11 pupil said she hoped to learn a lot from people in a foreign country.
Her father, Pelaelo Serero, said they never thought she would make it this far in the sport, especially because she only started playing tennis when she was 12.
“Despite this, she has worked very hard and here she is now. I am very proud of her.”
Devina Pillay, 14, from Durban said: “I am overjoyed. My dream of representing a South African team has come true. Tennis is a big part of my life. I take it very seriously and it is also very fun.
“I have already accomplished my South African dream so now I am going to push internationally and maybe play in Wimbledon one day.”
Tennis South Africa president Gavin Crooks said this opportunity would benefit the senior school tennis players greatly both sports wise and personally.
“They are going to participate against players in the UK of a similar age and that is going to help them see a different level and also it will help them determine whether their standard of tennis is competitive in the world scenario. I am confident that our teams that are going will be competitive,” Crooks said.
“They are also going to attend the actual Wimbledon event where they are going to see top players playing and hopefully that will give them the inspiration to take their tennis further.”
YOUNG HOPEFULS: The team of SA high school tennis players off to Wimbledon.