Formed at the turn of the millennium in 2000 when the country’s economy had already started to dwindle, the Mutare-based academy never looked back.
Tennis Zimbabwe president Anne Martin is at the helm of the academy where former Davis Cup player Genius Chidzikwe and Liberty Nzula come in as assistant coaches to national junior teams coach Freeman Nyamunokora.
Martin’s vast experience of over 30 years of tennis administration has seen the academy providing the bulk of junior players in various junior teams age groups. The most recent was at the African Junior Zone VI Championships qualifiers in Namibia in January this year where the academy provided five of the 11 players that were selected to represent the country in Windhoek.
The academy provided Under-12 girl Beverly Matsiwe, Under-14 girls Karen Muswere and Karen Mwashita, Under-16 girl Latifah Yasini and Under-16 boy Alwyn Mushonga. The academy is also set to provide four of the six youngsters who are going to represent the country at the African Junior Championships, set for Egypt in April. The players are Under-14 (boy) Keith Mwashita, Under-16 girl Mushonga and girls Muswere and Machisa, both Under-14.
Innocent Mhere, who recently graduated from the junior teams, also came through the ranks of this academy.
Nyamunokora bemoaned lack of sponsorship which he said was hampering their developmental projects.
“We have tried our best to soldier on despite the lack of funds to tap raw talent from schools, l think the issue of sponsorship has been our major set-back,” said Nyamunokora.
“We have about 64 players who can compete at regional tournaments but we are forced to send only seven to eight players to participate at such tournament once in many months.”