Top tennis this weekend

23 April 2021 | Sports

Players from across the globe have been flocking to Windhoek since Tuesday in anticipation of the International Tennis Federation's World Tennis Tour for Juniors that kicks off with qualifying rounds in the capital on Saturday (24 April).
It is clear that with the suspension of many Junior ITF World Tours around the world, players are anxious to earn the sought-after ITF ranking points.
Players currently entered and accepted to participate are arriving from South Africa, Zimbabwe, the USA, Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Italy, France, Great Britain, Denmark, Mozambique, Belgium, and India. With Namibia's fine weather and current low Covid infection rate, it is only natural that players from across the world choose to come and play in the Land of the Brave.
Featuring over 650 tournaments in 140 countries, the Tour sees junior players compete across six levels.
The NTA hosts a level J5 tournament starting with the main draw on 26 April, followed by a level J4 tournament on 3 May. Eleven Namibian players have entered the first tournament and will have to either fight their way past the qualifying round or past fierce opposition in the main draw.
They are in the boys J5 ITF u/18 round: Connor van Schalkwyk, Daniel Jauss, George Louw, Dian Calitz, Sarel Janse van Rensburg, Ruben Nel, Oliver Leicher and Joel Hiveluah; while Lisa Yssel, Raico Coelho and Nicola Nitschke will contest the category for girls.

Watch out for…
A player to watch out for is Namibia's 16-year-old Connor van Schalkwyk who arrives on Saturday from Sweden, where he currently lives with his family. He has been accepted directly into the boys' main draw that will start on Monday and is currently ranked 280 in the world for boys u/18. He will likely be seeded second to South Africa's Mikaeel Woodman, currently ranked 224 for juniors in the world.
The two Van Schalkwyk brothers, Codie and Connor, had the opportunity to train with top players and coaches at the high performance tennis centre in Morocco, but moved to Sweden after lockdown last year. Connor currently trains under Yerko Mullers, a top coach in Sweden, while Codie has been accepted by the Old Dominion University to play college tennis in the USA where he will start training under Dominik Mueller later this year.

Covid and such
Most of the players for the World Tour will stay at the Safari Hotel, the Tour's official accommodation partner, and very strict Covid regulations will be enforced on- and off-site as prescribed by the ITF.
No spectators are allowed, but players' family members may apply for entry to a separate area that has been prepared for this purpose.
This is the first time that both Sanlam and Pupkewitz Megabuild support and sponsor a World Tennis Tour in Windhoek, and the NTA would like to thank them for their assistance.

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