Spain based Botswana Tennis whiz kid, Refilwe Ekua Youri, continues to prove herself beyond reasonable doubt in her quest to become one of the top players within the Spanish tennis circles. This is after her total dominance at the recent Circuit Absolut FCT Catalan Open tournament held in Barcelona at the weekend.
Youri won her third individual elite title in a tournament that was contested by over 60 players in the singles event. Enroute to the finals she played six matches registering the much needed wins against her opponents to set up a final meeting with her close rival Ines Leona Orjedad of Spain. She beat her 6-3, 6-3 to win the prestigious title.
In an interview with Gazette Sport, Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) President, Oaitse Thipe said they are proud of Youri’s performance and they trust that it will add massive value into the local tennis. “Having an 18-year-old dominate the singles event in a foreign country is a big achievement and I must say we are really proud of her. She has been proving herself in almost tournament that she is competing in at any stage of tennis may it be continental or international hence our full support towards her development as a player. She is a very consistent and hardworking individual and we would like to see her shine as she aims for more titles,” he said.
Youri is the only local female player who is close to breaking into the Junior grand slams main draw and Thipe is adamant that she will make it to the highest rankings that will earn her a slot in the grand slams.
“Youri is one of the players that we are monitoring very closely because she is just a few steps away from breaking into the junior grand slam tournaments. She just needs to play regularly in such tournaments that can earn her points to improve her rankings in order for her to progress. We are also grateful that she motivates other players within the national team because we have couple of young players based abroad and it adds value into the team. We are very optimistic that she will make it to her desired major competitions,” he said.
Youri won an Open under 18 Catalan Federation tournament in Barcelona in 2021 and 2022 respectively, she then went on to make a podium finish at the J5 La Nucia tournament in Spain and the Confederation of African tennis championship. She is currently ranked number 454 in the world and she has previously reached a career high ranking of 310 last year in January. The 18-year-old is striving to earn junior grand slam tournaments place alongside Denzel Seetso who is also close to breaking into the top 200 as he is currently ranked number 219 in the world.