25 July 2014
South Africa will be aiming to make it two in a row when they defend their title at the International Club under-16 Junior Challenge Worldwide finals in London next week. In 2012, they took the honours in Adelaide, Australia.
The event, which takes place from 28 July to 1 August, is being hosted by the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain and will be played on the Championship courts at Wimbledon.
In October 2013 the International Club of South Africa hosted and won a 16-and- under regional play-off against Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Botswana to secure a place in London.
The winning South African team was made up of twins Lee and Zani Barnard, Jan- Louis Maritz and Richard Thongoana. They will represent Africa in the finals, with Terry Schweitzer coaching coach and captaining the side.
“As it will be my players’ first opportunity to compete on grass at Wimbledon, you can only imagine the excitement in the team,” Schweitzer said in a statement on Thursday. “Added to this, the exposure in playing against other top international players is such an opportunity.
“Playing at Wimbledon is a goal and a dream for each one of my players.”
‘A great initiative and opportunity”
Gavin Crookes, the President of Tennis South Africa (TSA), said TSA was grateful to the International Club for arranging the event. “This is such a great initiative and opportunity for juniors worldwide,” he enthused.
“It awards our up-and-coming juniors from South Africa the opportunity to play at the ‘home of tennis’, which is bound to be an awesome experience.
“On behalf of all of our members and citizens we wish the South African team all the very best.”
Joining South Africa at Wimbledon are the other regional qualifiers – the USA, Argentina, Italy, Japan and the hosts, Great Britain.
Open to all 40 International Clubs around the world, the Under-16 Junior Challenge is the International Club Council’s premier junior event.
The tournament will feature a round-robin format over a five-day period and will conclude on Friday, 1 August.
Each team will be represented by two under-16 boys and two under-U16 girls, plus an adult captain/coach. Matches will feature two boys’ singles, two girls’ singles, one boys’ doubles and one girls’ doubles match. The final positions will be determined by the number of tie wins.
The referee for the event is Clare Wood, a former professional player and an assistant referee at The Championships, Wimbledon.