Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ekua Youri’s star shines brighter

In three months of international tournaments, local Junior tennis starlet Ekua Youri reached her highest World Junior ranking of 470. The results mean the Spain based player can now dream of playing in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Grand Slam tournaments in 2023.This was revealed by Barcelona Tennis Academy director Raphel Maurer in an interview with Sunday Standard Sport.

“For the past three months Youri has achieved great results in the ITF Juniors competitions. She was not ranked at the start of September and is now ranked 470 in the world. Ekua will continue to compete in ITF Juniors in 2022 as well as to start playing some ITF women’s events. As a junior player the main goal for her will be to play the Junior Grand Slams in 2023,” he said.

Maurer said if Youri could break into the top 100, this might give her a chance to get to the qualifications and compete. Furthermore, he said Youri’s advancing will also depend on a Grand Slam, Wimbledon and Roland Garros which have usually stronger line-ups.

The academy director said, “In her ITF debut event in Spain along the way as well as reaching the quarterfinals of the African championships in Tunisia, the academy has put on a hard work and it is paying off. We look forward to a great 2022 for Youri to continue her climb in the rankings and looking towards playing Grand Slam tournaments.”

For his part Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) public relations officer, Oaitse Thipe said the junior players have shown the talent that we have in this country. He said alongside coaches who have been working tirelessly, the association, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and parents who have invested in these players, with increased funding we can have these players play in Junior Wimbledon next year.

Youri is ranked number one in the Junior female in Botswana, followed by Chelsea Changanyuka and Naledi Raguin respectively. Denzel Seetso is ranked one, Mark Nawa comes after and Batshomi Marobela in numbers three.BTA has seen a handful of podium finishes from junior tennis players. Thipe mentions that the decision making has improved a lot and the players’ fighting spirit.

“It is very good for BTA, Coaches, parents for these kids to be doing well but a lot of work needs to be done in securing them more funding to play at the highest level,” Thipe added.

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