The AJC is one of the most prestigious competitions on the continent and was founded in 1978 to encourage greater competition on the continent. The championship offers competitions in three age groups — the 14 & under, 16 & under and 18 & under levels. Over the years, the competition has also acted as a valuable springboard from which the most talented players have launched their careers.
Tadiwa Chinamo, Nicole Dzenga, Ngoni Chiwewete, Keren Muswere, Ronzai Saurombe, Taremedzwa Mariga, Valeria Bhunu and Thabile Tshatedi have qualified for this year’s edition of the AJC.
The eight players qualified on the basis of their performance at the Zone Six Africa Junior Championships qualifiers held in Harare last week.
Chinamo and Chiwewete will compete in the boys’ Under-14 age group with Dzenga and Muswere competing in the girls’ same age group.
In the Under-16 age group, Zimbabwe will be represented by Saurombe and Mariga with Bhunu and Tshatedi expected to fly the country’s flag in the girls’ section.
The AJC is set to run from March 28 to April 8 in Cairo, Egypt.
Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) administrator Patricia Mavhunduke expressed satisfaction at the way local players performed in the zonal qualifiers.
“Most of our local players qualified to be in the top eight but only two boys and two girls were considered as this is the maximum number of entries per country.
“We hosted a very exciting tournament and ITF development director Dave Miley who watched the semifinals and finals was impressed with the display of talent in the region. We thank all our sponsors and the media for supporting us in hosting the zonal qualifiers,” she said.
Mavhunduke added that TZ will soon submit an additional list of four players — two girls and two boys — for the country in the Under-18 category.
“The Under-18 entries will be processed later. For this age group, we have to see how they performed in ITF competitions”.
The AJC also counts as the qualifying event for the Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.
Three Zimbabwe players – Byron, Wayne and Cara Black are on the AJC roll of honour.
Retired Byron was the Under-18 champion in 1985 and he went on to achieve a highest singles ranking of 22 as well as the No. 1 men’s doubles ranking in career.
Wayne, who has also retired, went to represent Zimbabwe in the Davis Cup and the Olympic Games.
Cara is a former girls’ champion of 1992 and was nominated as the ITF Junior World Champion in 1997, having finished the year ranked number 1 in singles and doubles on the ITF Junior World Rankings. She is currently one of the top women players in professional tennis today.