Experienced Kendall wins NTA senior tourney

The men's champion expressed his excitement about the level of the upcoming youngsters.
Mariud Ngula
The on-court experience of Kendall Swartz, who previously played college tennis in USA, was a feature at Central Tennis Club (CTC) in Olympia last weekend, as he secured comfortable wins in both the men’s singles and doubles of the Namibia Tennis Association’s (NTA) third senior tournament.

The women’s singles saw teenager Mari van Schalkwyk reign supreme.

According to the tournament director, Jandre Bezuidenhout, close to 30 players had entered for the knock-out contest in both the singles and doubles draws.

He described the competition as tennis of the highest order, with players treating spectators to good entertainment, as sparks flew from the very first match until the grand finale. “I am very impressed with the perseverance these remarkable athletes showed.

“The rising young prodigy Ruben Yssel fought his heart out to beat top-seeded Dickson Phiri of Zambia 6-4, 7-5 to book his place in the final, whilst Kendall Swartz eliminated number two Elias Shikongo (6-2, 7-5), who has proven himself to be a consistent top performer,” Bezuidenhout said.

Sunday saw a baptism of fire for third seed Ruben Yssel against number four Swartz, who emerged victorious 6-4, 7-6 after being pushed to a tiebreaker in the second set.

Swartz expressed his excitement about the level of the upcoming youngsters, affirming his willingness to assist them in gaining more experience.

In the men’s doubles final, Swartz and Elias Shikongo beat their rivals Ruben Yssel and Dickson Phiri 6-2 6-4.

The women’s section saw teenager Mari van Schalkwyk advance to the final by outsmarting the legendary Amanda van Dyk 6-3, 6-2.

Meanwhile in the women’s draw, lady luck smiled on Austrian-born Paula Zalto, as her opponent, the top-seeded teenager Joanivia Bezuidenhout, had to withdraw from their semi-final due to a wrist injury.

The vibrant Van Schalkwyk then took the final in straight sets, by a comfortable 6-0, 6-1 against Zalto.

• Jandre Bezuidenhout said CTC also treats enthusiasts to masters tennis on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 18:00, when the country’s top eight ranked men’s and women’s players battle it out for the inaugural HMKV Invitational cup.

“This tournament is played in honour of Namibian tennis legends Leon Hemmes, Bob Mould, Samson Kaulinge and Amanda van Dyk. It was introduced to bring tennis into the limelight, boosting development, performance and drive for upcoming young talent,” Bezuidenhout said.

• The fifth junior tournament at Swakopmund on 10-11 May is up next on the NTA schedule.