High school pupils to rep­re­sent South Africa on Wim­ble­don tour

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - Sport - LILLIAN SELAPISA lil­lians@afro­tone.co.za

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.

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