Bhunu eyes pro career

HARARE - Zimbabwe junior tennis ace Kimberly Bhunu has made up her mind on what she wants to do.

The just-ended ITF 18 and Under South Central Circuit Zimbabwe Leg 3 tournament held at Harare Sports Club was her last competition she was competing in as a 16-year-old as she turns 17 this Tuesday.

With international tennis stars Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal as her role models it is quite easy to figure out what she craves for at this moment.

“I draw a lot of inspiration from Serena and Nadal. I want to turn pro in the future and that’s my target,” Bhunu told the Daily News on Sunday.

The former Alexandra Primary School and Dominican Convent student, who is now based in France, reached the quarter-finals of the girls’ section but unfortunately lost to Canada’s Largade Tiffany.

“The games have been good, I enjoyed playing all the games looking forward to do the most as my eyes were set on going all the way and win,” she said.

“I played pretty well despite bowing out of the third leg in the quarterfinal stage. It’s always nice to be here and what I like about these tournaments is that they are at home and feels really special to play in front of your home fans.

“I also get a lot of big players to play against so I enjoy that quite well because it also comes with a vast amount of valuable experience. This year I’m going to be playing more ITF events and my target is to keep on improving and see how it goes.”

Bhunu has gained a lot of experience and guidance from her elder sibling Valeria, who was awarded a scholarship to study at the ITF Training Centre in Pretoria, South Africa when she was aged only 11 years old.

Usually the centre only accepts players from the age of 13 and above.

“I have had to leave with the notion that people expect me to be like Valeria and I always argue that ideally, I would like to be better than her and I guess I’m getting there with each outing on the court,” Bhunu said.

“It’s good to have a sister setting the bar for you and I know she is also proud of my achievements as I try to map my way in the profession in my own different way.”

Tennis Zimbabwe vice present Biggie Magarira said it has been a good three weeks hosting the junior players from all over the globe.

“This has been quite a successful three-week actually gave a chance to our kids to see some top class junior tennis...we also had some kids who were participating which was also some good experience for our kids for them to gain some ITF points,” Magarira said.

“This tournament can also assist our kids to play bigger tournaments using these points and also help them when they finish school to get colleges to further their education especially in the USA. These tournaments bring people from all over the world and it is that experience for our kids and valuable ITF points that we are looking for.”

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