TENNIS Zimbabwe national junior tennis initiative and technical development officer Linsent Chitiyo says they are content with the display by their players at the just-ended ITF events staged at Harare Sport Club.
Zimbabwe hosted three tournaments – one J60 and two J100 events in the last three weeks. The events that began at the end of July ended over the weekend at Harare Sports Club.
The tournaments are part of the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors and give players aged 18 and under the opportunity to travel the world and develop their talent.
The local players performed better in the first two events but found the going tough in the last tournament that ended over the weekend.
The best performance came from Mauchi, who bowed out in the quarterfinal.
Most of the players bowed out in the first and second round.
Chitiyo said the events that have become a permanent feature on the local calendar gave them a chance to watch their players in action and are satisfied with their progress.
“From the association’s point of view, we are grateful and we are happy with what we saw from the players. And also taking into cognisant the fact that most of these players have been participating in these events outside the country and we also don’t usually get the opportunity to really see them in action.
“I think the first two events we performed quite well because on the podium we actually had Zimbabweans there.
“Then in the end we could attribute (the outcome) maybe to fatigue…but we could probably see that we still had higher chances of being on the limelight.
“So, I think the trajectory that we are moving in, I think it’s quite exciting and this also supported our players.
“The reason why we are hosting the events was actually justified during these three weeks,” said Chitiyo.
Some of the highlights from the events were Sasha Chimedza reaching the girls singles final while Tadiwanashe Mauchi made the doubles final with her partner Iriela Rajaobelina in the first event, which was the J60.
In the boys’ category Thompson Thomu won the doubles title when he teamed up with Liam Channon of Great Britain in the first tournament.
Chimedza also had a good run in the second event, the J100 when reaching the semi-finals and the doubles final when she partnered South Africa’s Celina Joseph.
“You find that in the calendars of events that we are following, three quarters of our players were coming from a school calendar, an academic calendar. They were not actively involved in terms of tennis participation.
“And then when you look at the majority of the guys who were performing well within the tournament, they have been participating in events before these events that were hosted within the country.
“But for the locals, the majority of them, you would also look at when was the last event that we hosted locally that these guys participated in, in terms of competitively preparing for such events.
“This also has its own tall order on the preparations for the players because you also coming from a calendar where these guys were also having examinations and the second term in Zimbabwean standards it’s never a tennis calendar for schools…sports practice are more on rugby, soccer and other sporting activities,” said Chitiyo.