• SA tourney is important for ratings
  • BTA to host more tournaments


Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) will send four of its top players to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament that will be held in Potchefstroom, South Africa next week.

The president BTA, Oaitse Thipe, told Gazette Sport that Denzel Seetso, Mark Nawa, Seabo Shaleshando and Chelsea Changanyuka will depart this week to compete in the first tournament that will start on Saturday before participating in another one that will start on 5 March.

“The first tournament starts on Saturday this weekend and finishes on Saturday next weekend, then the second one starts the following Saturday and will take a week to complete,” said Thipe.

He added that while the four will be playing a grade four tournament, the main objective is for them to amass points to improve their international rankings before the junior Africa championships.

“The tournaments are very crucial in the sense that they will help them improve their rankings,” he explained. “On top of that, if some of them do well they will qualify for the Africa junior championships. We believe the players will do their best in South Africa because they too know what the tournaments mean to them.”

Thipe added that BTA derives considerable confidence from the fact that the players have had competitive matches in recent times. “But Denzel has been injured and has not played any competitive match while Chelsea has had a competitive tournament in Bloemfontein, Mark and Esi ???? played in Durban in January,” he said.

In 2019, Seetso and Nawa won medals at the ITF/CAT Under 14 circuit in Zimbabwe. Seetso won gold in the boys’ singles while Nawa got a bronze before the two went on to collect a silver medal in the doubles. Still in 2019, Seetso won a silver medal at the Africa Junior Tennis Championships in Algeria.

Thipe said beginning next weekend with a junior tournament in Palapye, BTA will host more local tournaments around the country in order to ensure increased participation in international games by Botswana players.

He noted that although the outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in inability to host international tennis tournaments, some players have been doing fairly well. These include Ekua Refilwe Youri who may go to the Junior Wimbledon and the French Open this year.

Early this month, Youri played her first international tennis tournament for 2022 at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Spain but lost in the quarter finals to Mathilde Carre of France.

The tournament, which is rated J3, and was a part of the ITF world juniors tour.