South African Tennis has not had a major presence on the international tennis stage for a very long time with the exception of Kevin Anderson.
Here we look at a few up and coming South African tennis players who can hopefully go on and do great things.
Zoe and Bella Kruger
Age: Zoe is 17 and Bella is 14
The two talented sisters come from a well known sports family and are the daughters of former World Cup winning Springbok legend, Ruben Kruger. At a young age the sisters were identified as talented tennis players and were finally noticed by Thomas Hogsted, a famous player and coach who has worked with Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki among others. Thomas became their coach and was instrumental in the 2 sisters being accepted into the world renowned IMG Tennis Academy in Florida.
Some of their achievements include both being SA national champions from a young age as young as 8 years old – often playing against girls many years their senior. Zoe’s biggest achievement was winning the U18 African Championships at the age of 14, whilst recently she had the opportunity to play in the Junior Australian Open.
Age: 22 years old
Lloyd is the first South African tennis player to break into the ATP top 100 in many years since Kevin Anderson. His current world ranking is now 97 in the world, which gives him the opportunity to compete in the grand slams.
This is an incredible achievement for a junior player who still trains in South Africa at the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy based in Cape Town.
To date he has won 3 challenger events in the US and Tasmania- this is the tournament level that is just below ATP 500 events.
He participated in his first Grand Slam at the 2018 US Open. Since playing in his first US Open, Harris has gone on to play in this year’s Australian Open, reached the second round of the French Open and played an incredible match in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships against the icon Roger Federer, where he was able to take the first set.
Sipho and Kholo Montsi
Age: Sipho is 20 and Kholo is 17
Born in Pretoria, the two brothers were talented sportsmen from a young age, They both excelled at Cricket and Kholo had the opportunity to go to Barbados for Karate. Once they had decided to focus on tennis they relocated to Cape Town and enrol at the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy.
Sipho has been a South African tennis champion from a young age winning many local titles which enabled him to get an opportunity to compete at the Junior Australian Open in 2017. This was an incredible experience for him even though he was knocked out in the first round. Judy Murray, Andy Murray’s mother, noticed the South African youngster’s potential at the Australian Open Juniors and congratulated him on his performance and even took a photo with him. Recently Sipho was a member of the SA Davis Cup team in Slovenia as a hitting partner. He has also started Studying at the University of Illinois, the same university attended by Kevin Anderson.
Kholo, the younger brother has also had an incredible junior career, building on from the successes of his brother. Since joining the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy, Kholo has gone on to break into the top 100 ITF Junior rankings which allowed him to compete in the Junior Australian Open. Some of his greatest achievements to date include winning the SA u16 Masters Championships and the South Central ITF Junior Circuit event in Zimbabwe, where he beat the top seed from Ukraine.
This just shows that there are a number of incredible junior tennis players climbing up the ranks and hopefully we will be able to see these juniors shine in the future and become grand slam contenders like Kevin Anderson.