ZIMBABWE’S top junior tennis player Valeria Bhunu, who pulled out of the 2013 Australian Open Junior Championships at the last minute, has set her sights on Egypt’s US$10 000 Sharm El Sheikh Futures tournament that begins tomorrow.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The tournament runs from tomorrow to January 27 at Jolie Ville Maritim Golf Resort in the Egyptian City of Sharm El Sheikh.
Bhunu withdrew from the Australian Open Junior Championships currently underway, after being drawn in the qualifying draw which her parents thought was not good enough to fit her calibre.
Her father, Regis Bhunu, who is also the vice-president of Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ), told Standardsport that they felt she needed more time to recover from last year’s injury and playing in the qualifying draw at the Australian Open was going to destroy her self-esteem.
“We felt that if she was to participate in a Grand Slam, she had to start in the main draw. That is why we decided that she plays in Futures tournaments to regain her composure and boost her ranking. She will be participating in the futures tournament and then the Africa Junior Championships and that will help her,” he said.
Grand Slams are the most prestigious events on the circuit and are allocated the most ranking points.
Bhunu recovered from a six-month injury layoff last year to win the SAS Junior ITF 2 tournament in Stellenbosch, South Africa in October last year.
The player, who is ranked at number 374 in the world, is also part of the Zimbabwe team that will take part in next month’s ITF/CAT African Closed Junior 18 & Under Championships in South Africa.
The other members of the girls’ team are Nicole Dzenga, Thabile Tshatedi, Latif Yasim and Zahara Finnigan. The boys team comprises Courtney Locke and Ronzai Saurombe, with the three wild cards slots being announced soon.