Catching up with TuksTennis

Ntokozo Zondo

TuksTennis recently hosted their student tennis championships at the TuksTennis Courts. Perdeby sat down with Kyla Yelverton, the TuksTennis chairperson, to find out more about the tournament and the team’s plans and aspirations. Yelverton described the championships as a “full on tennis tournament with proper draws and seedings in which all players who wish to be a part of the student team enter.” Yelverton added that the championships help assist the club in ordering players according to rank and ability.


What objectives do the club have for the upcoming tennis season?
Last year we came very close to winning USSA by losing 7.6 to Kovsies in the final. This year we are out for gold and not silver. As a club we aim [to win] the Sun City Intervarsity challenge coming up in April, the USSA Tennis tournament coming up in July, as well as excelling and going for gold in our Gauteng North Leagues.

As a club we are very dedicated [to] bringing home gold and first place in all aspects and competitions we compete in [this year]. We began training early in January this year as we knew that if we were to produce a high performing team, all players need to be fit and on form for the upcoming tournaments.


What are you looking forward to this season?
[…]All the competitions that TuksTennis competes in […]: Sun City InterVarsity, Gauteng North Mixed League, Gauteng North Men’s Winter League, the USSA Tennis tournament, Gauteng North Ladies and Men’s Summer League, our […] greatest goal of the year is to win the USSA Tennis tournament. This is something all team players put extra training in for and has been a tournament we have been wanting to win for the last 5 years but have just missed it every time. This is the highlight of our season and it is the tournament we work hardest and prepare the most for.


Which events are the club currently preparing for and how is training going so far?
The Sun City Intervarsity is our first varsity competition coming up on 13 and 16 April. In this tournament, only the first team competes which includes the top six men and top six ladies at TuksTennis. With regards to preparation for this tournament, all players are required to train at least three times a week in order to ensure that they are staying fit and on form. With busy academic schedules, we offer quite a number of different sessions for our players to attend so that they are not restricted to one session, this being thanks to the assistance and leadership of Coach Kobus Botha, and Helga Jeske.


Does the team have any special routines they follow before a tournament?
Closer to the time, the team will have to attend a training camp which consists of training together for the five days leading up to the tournament, which gives the team the opportunity to practice team dynamics and begin building team spirit for the tournament. These training camps also usually help the first year players get into the groove of things and get to know the team dynamic better before the tournament.

The Sun City Intervarsity challenge is also a tournament we as a team have always come close to winning, bringing home a number of second places, this year however our focus is on winning and we have never been this focused before.


What would you tell students who are considering joining the club but are unsure about following through?
TuksTennis is a wonderful club full of a bunch of friendly people who all come from different academic backgrounds, different cultures and different provinces perhaps, but one will always feel welcome here. If you are a serious and [a] very competitive player, you will thrive here as TuksTennis offers the facilities and the coaching to build on your tennis and make you even better physically and mentally. If you are a social player, you are just as welcome here as we have social evenings specifically for our social players so that they can also enjoy the sport without the competitive nature of it.


What advice would you offer to women in this male dominated industry?
As a female walking on the court to play, your mindset has to be just as dominant as a [man’s], you have to show just as much capability, durability and strength, which is very possible. A female should never feel less important in tennis, as it is completely up to you as to how good you will be and what mark you will leave. Serena Williams, one of the greats is a perfect example of this, she has never given up and never showed weakness in her career and she is now one of the greatest not only sportswoman, but sports players of all time. In any sport, a woman ultimately has to work harder to be noticed, but this should be motivation and not a hurdle on the way to greatness.


Illustration: Sally Hartzenberg

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