TZ junior policy bears fruit

HARARE - The decision to invest in sound junior development policy is slowly paying dividends for Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) with the readmission into the Euro/Africa Zone Group 11 for 2018 following their exploits in Cairo Egypt last month.

A 2-0 win over Kenya saw Zimbabwe claim one of the two slots to regain promotion to Europe/ Africa Zone Group II during the Davis Cup Africa Zone Three Tennis Championships at Solaimaneyah Club in Cairo after opening their account with a 3-0 win over Rwanda, a 2-1 victory against Nigeria before going down 0-3 against hosts Egypt.

The locals were sent packing to Zone Group III Europe/Africa by Georgia after losing the Group II Europe/Africa play-offs last year.

Benjamin Lock, Takanyi Garanganga, Courtney Lock, Tadiwa Chinamo and non-playing captain Martin Dzuwa made up the victorious Zimbabwe Davis Cup team that played in Egypt.

And just a fortnight back at home during the ITF 18 and Under South Central Circuit Zimbabwe Leg 3 tournament held at Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe had a good outing.

Top junior boys’ player Mehluli Sibanda was in outstanding form; winning two finals and finishing runner-up in the other.

In the girls’ section, Kimberly Bhunu reached the singles quarter-finals while Rufaro Magarira made it into the semi-finals of the ITF Under 18 Pettit Camp in Mauritius.

TZ vice president Biggie Magarira said the association’s investment in junior development was the driving force behind recent success stories and with a bit of sponsorship they can only get better.

“We have restructured and started putting more emphasis now on the junior development because that’s where we get the players to feed into the senior team,” Magarira said.

“As you are aware our Davis Cup team had been relegated, fortunately, we played well in Egypt and we are back into the Euro/Africa Zone II.

“We can only get the players into seniors’ category as long as we have a sound junior development policy and if you don’t have a development policy then there is no feeding into the senior team.

“As TZ we are working very hard to support the juniors so that they can come up and we are starting the feeding system into the senior team.”

Magarira added: “We have crafted a three-year plan were we are going to be having a High Performance Centre in Harare.

“We are going to choose 12 top junior players and then we offer them High Performance training...we will have a special coach who will be looking at them and will have these kids travelling all over so that they get the experience and improve on their play.”

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