- Seetso and Youri stand a chance to qualify for French Junior Open and Junior Wimbledon this year
- Nawa and Changanyuka to try their luck in doubles against Zim and Algeria today (Wednesday)
Botswana’s top tennis players, Denzel Seetso and Ekua Refilwe Youri, won their opening games at the ongoing 46th ITF/CAT African Individual Junior Championships for 18-year-olds and under in Cairo, Egypt.
The tournament is organised by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the Egyptian Tennis Federation in an effort to improve players’ rankings ahead of this year’s major tournaments.
Team Botswana is made up of four players (two boys and two girls), Seetso, Mark Naw, Youri and Chelsea Changanyuka after they qualified for the main draw based on their ITF Junior rankings.
They are under the guidance of top coach Phenyo Matong who has been in charge of the team since last year.
Botswana’s top seed Seetso showed his intentions to win the title for the second time by beating his South African opponent Guy Vorwerk 6-3, 6-3 to increase his chances of proceeding to the next stage.
Talented Spain-based Youri also got off to a good start by eliminating Wissal Boudjemaui of Algeria 6-1, 6-3 in the first round.
In a post-match interview with Gazette Sports, Seetso said he is aiming for nothing less than a podium finish as he desperately needs those points to qualify for the junior grand slams.
“I have been trying hard to earn such points but I always miss with a slight margin,” he said. “This time around I am focused and determined to do good, more so that I prepared well through the assistance of my coach.”
A joyed president of Botswana Tennis Association (BTA), Oaitse Thipe, said the victories of the two could mean they stand a chance to gain 200 international tennis points, which would put them in the French Junior Open and Junior Wimbledon this year.
Major grand slams
“This tournament is for only 22 top ranked players in Africa,” Thipe said. “That’s why it carries so much in points. The two could qualify for the major grand slams.
“We are confident that our players have what it takes to compete for the honours in Africa because Seetso and Youri have won big titles before and have improved their rankings massively, which puts them in a better position to qualify.”
Nawa and Changanyuka were given a bye in the singles contest and are set to try their luck in the doubles events today (Wednesday) against Zimbabwe and Algeria respectively.