TENNIS WORLD ACADEMY CELEBRATES SOUTH AFRICA’S BEST YOUNGSTER
Very active off the court, between structural investments and organizational vivacity, the Tennis World Academy continues to produce more and more interesting players.
Good work always pays off, and in these days great results have come: from 10th to 15th December the GrowthPoint Cape Town Tennis Super 8 was played, one of the most important tournaments on the South African scene. To be clear, the beauty of twenty categories were played (from the Under-10 to the Open) and hundreds of players took part. For this reason, the matches were spread across nine different clubs, all in Cape Town. The tournament was conducted under the patronage of Tennis South Africa and brought great satisfaction to TWA athletes.
The most beautiful story came from the racquet of Ernst Gouws: the 17-year-old from Stellenbosch won the Open draw, the most prestigious event that was open to athletes of all ages. Seeded second in the draw, Gouws did his duty until the final, where he won a splendid match against Alexander Edley, the top seed. It was a very tough battle that Gouws closed with a score of 6-7, 7-5, 6-4. Gouws confirmed considerable mental strength, as he had made up a set behind even in the quarterfinals and in the semi-finals. His is an even more significant success, because the draw was even 128 players, like in the Grand Slams (even if Gouws – since he was seeded – made his debut in the second round after receiving a bye in the first round). “His was a perfect tournament,” – said Federico Coppini, director of the Tennis World Academy. “He played very well and in the final, he overtook an opponent of great value, whose UTR ranking is even 11.5.”
Thanks to this result, Gouws became South Africa’s number 1 in the Under-18 national rankings. “An extraordinary achievement, considering that in 2021 he started far behind in the rankings but climbed the rankings thanks to one victory after another. And he is closing the season really well,” concluded Coppini, aware that his pupil has played 71 games.
2021 was a crucial year in Ernst’s growth, as he had his initial experience of playing international events, playing three ITF tournaments, all in South Africa (two in Pretoria, one in Stellenbosch). In two of these events, he came through the qualifiers, confirming that he can play at certain levels. And the impression is that in 2022 he can do even better.
But it does not end there: the academy boys also showed excellent results in the Under-12 category, where Dawid Fourie reached the final, beaten only by the favorite of the eve of Israel Dowie (6-1, 6-2, was the score). Fourie was the sixth seed and played a flawless tournament, not losing a single set until the final. “It is an excellent result, but we are happy above all for how he played and for how he is growing in terms of tennis,” added Coppini, who followed all the matches carefully. Fourie also comes from having a good season, in which he distinguished himself in the Tennis World Tour tournaments. During a stage in March, he completed an extraordinary double, winning both the Under-12 and Under-14 categories, overcoming opponents older than him by two years. His performance in Cape Town is the best birthday present he could have given himself, as he turned 11 on December 3rd.
The other satisfaction for the TWA came from the Under-12 category, in which a boy from the academy took the doubles title. This was Jamie Roux, who dismissed his disappointment in losing in the second round in singles and teamed up with Ethan Pieber for an impeccable result. Pieber and Roux won the title without losing a set. Roux is also a guy to bet on: just think that in March, during a stage of the TWT, he had played a spectacular match against Fourie, lost only 10-7 in the super tie-break. In short, 2021 was a decidedly positive season for the world of Tennis World: foundation, tournaments and academy are going well, giving an important signal after the pandemic. But there is no risk of being satisfied, on the contrary, in 2022 we will start again with even more enthusiasm.