Two of Westville’s Tennis stars, Thembo Makhanya and Louis van der Westhuizen, are forging their paths towards their chosen professional Tennis careers.
Thembo Makhanya, who completed Matric last year, has commenced his studies at an American university this month. Thembo’s Tennis talents were recognised by the national selectors two years ago, when he achieved high national junior rankings and was selected as Captain of the South African Schools Tennis team whilst still in Grade 11. He has now been accepted on an 80% Tennis scholarship at Emmanuel University (Georgia), and he is also most appreciative of the generous sponsorship received from Growthpoint Properties which will assist him with additional costs.
Thembo achieved good scores in American SAT process before receiving his Matric certificate earlier this year. He will be honing his Tennis skills through the American NCAA system, which is well-known for producing some of the world’s best players, such as John Isner and Sam Querry. Apart from studying towards a Business Administration degree, he will also aim at gaining valuable ITF points on the USA Challenger circuit when his studies and commitments allow. This will open his way towards participating on the professional circuit in a few years’ time.
Louis van der Westhuizen, currently in Grade 11, was invited to attend the French Open in June this year. Louis describes this a ‘life-changing experience’. Apart from seeing iconic sites such as the Eiffel Tower and Arch de Triomphe, he gained significant insight into the demands that are placed on the world’s top Tennis players and their level of preparation for a Grand Slam event. With prime tickets for the Philippe Chatrier and Suzanne Lenglen feature courts, he was able to watch close-up and learn from established players including Rafael Nadal, Juan-Martin del Potro, Kevin Anderson, Maria Sharapova, David Goffin and John Isner, as well as the new generation of players such as Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Louis was also invited to attend the French Open Honours Ceremony which annually recognises Tennis legends of the past. On this occasion, Australia’s Evonne Goolagong-Cawley joined the distinguished list, which includes famous names such as Billie-Jean King, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and John McEnroe. Louis is currently participating in an ITF qualifying event in Stellenbosch and has earned valuable IFT points.
Both Thembo and Louis are coached by former Wimbledon player, Rowena Sanders of the Pro-Tennis Academy, who is also the official WBHS coach. They both express their sincere appreciation of her coaching role and her influence on in their future careers.