St Anne’s tennis star dreams of one day playing at Wimbledon

2014-03-18 00:00

ST ANNE’S Diocesan College schoolgirl Tessa van der Merwe dreams of becoming a professional tennis player, and one day getting the opportunity to play at Wimbledon.

The 17-year-old, who idolises Maria Sharapova, has been playing the sport for 11 years, has already represented South Africa at U13 level, and also played at a tournament in Malaysia where she finished in third place.

“In junior school we all had to play tennis. I really enjoyed it back then, so I carried on,” said Tessa, who is currently the number-one ranked U19 player in the Midlands.

Tessa is in matric next year, after which she hopes to be awarded a scholar­ship to study overseas where her tennis career will have the potential to take off.

Her private coach Reenen de Fries, who has been coaching her for the last three years, has been instrumental in her development, she said.

“He coaches me twice a week, and he’s really improved my tennis.

“My favourite player is Maria Sharapova. I try to watch her as often as I can, and I always try doing the things she does on the court,” Tessa told The Witness.

During school holidays, she said she regularly plays against her older brother who used to be a tennis player, but no longer plays.

“If I can get a scholarship to study overseas, I see myself as a serious tennis player down the line, and I hope to become a professional. My biggest dream is to play at Wimbledon one day,” she added.

Tessa is an all rounder at St Anne’s and also plays hockey, swims, and does athletics. “I play hockey for the first team, and I also represent the school at swimming and athletics. I love all of those other sports, but tennis is my favourite,” she said.

NAME: Tessa van der Merwe

AGE: 17

HEIGHT: 1,68 m

SCHOOL: St Anne’s Diocesan

College

GRADE: 11

SPORT: Tennis

HONOURS: South Africa U13, Number-one ranked U19 tennis player in the Midlands

AMBITION: To become professional and play at Wimbledon.

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