WATCH: Meet the Yeoville tennis coach aiming to get a Joburg player to Wimbledon

2019-07-09 08:20
Micheal Nkosi is convinced the next crop of tennis superstars will come from Yeoville in central Johannesburg. (Nokuthula Manyathi/News24)

Micheal Nkosi is convinced the next crop of tennis superstars will come from Yeoville in central Johannesburg. (Nokuthula Manyathi/News24) (Michael Nkosi)

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Micheal Nkosi is convinced that the next crop of international tennis superstars will come from Yeoville in central Johannesburg. 

The 64-year-old, who has been playing the sport for more than three decades, has offered free tennis lessons at the Yeoville Tennis Club since 2003.

The beginning

He held his first tennis racket in the early 1980s at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto - it was love at first serve. 

However, it quickly became apparent that he did not have the competitive edge to win big tennis tournaments. 

"I realised I was very less skilled in the techniques," Nkosi told News24. 

He could not afford to pay for private lessons so he looked for other avenues that would allow him to stay on the court.

The next best thing was coaching. 

"I found that people are so engrossed in playing tennis themselves and they forget about developing other people."

Fortunately, in 1996, Nkosi was able to attend a coaching seminar after winning a scholarship sponsored by Gauteng's sports department. 

The year-long seminar was facilitated by Tennis South Africa. The rest is history.

Keeping children safe

Now Nkosi offers lessons five times a week. He has more than 50 students on rotation. 

For him, it is more than about teaching the children how to volley; it is about creating upstanding citizens. 

"I consider myself a mentor and a parent to these kids. I teach them discipline, friendship and teamwork," he said.

He also warns them about the pitfalls of drug abuse and gangsterism.

Nkosi believes that tennis improves his students' physical and mental prowess.

"Tennis is a big mind game. It's a lot of science and mathematics involved. Kids are taught to think, it's almost the same as chess."

Next stop: Wimbledon

He is determined to mould his students into world class athletes.

"One way or another I will be sitting at Wimbledon with a player that comes from Yeoville," he said.

He regularly enters his students in tournaments, and offers lessons on weekends.

According to Nkosi, there is no such thing as too much practise. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news  |  tennis

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