Promising female tennis player Valeria Bhunu is out of South Africa's International Tennis Federation (ITF) CAT African Closed Junior Championship due to suspension.
The tournament runs from tomorrow to February 23. The Martin Dzuwa-coached Zimbabwean team of seven players -- four girls and three boys -- left yesterday afternoon for Potchefstroom.
Bhunu was handed a two-month suspension from taking part in junior tournaments by ITF after withdrawing late from last month's Australian Junior Open.
The 17-year-old opted out of the Australian Open after being drawn in the qualifying draw because of her low ranking. Bhunu however left for Spain on Friday to take part in the US$10 000 prize-money Mallorca Futures I senior tournament which runs concurrently with the South African competition.
Bhunu's father Regis said his daughter was notified at the last minute by ITF that she had been suspended.
"We are yet to decide whether she should now fully concentrate on senior tournaments or remain with the juniors. But we are earmarking her for the Junior Roland Garros in June which is a big stage," said Regis.
In the absence of Bhunu, Zimbabwe will have to rely on former African Under-14 girls' number one Nicole Dzenga. Dzenga will be complimented by Thabile Tshatedi, Zarha Finnigan and Latifah Yasin while the boys' team comprises Courtney Lock, Ronzai Saurombe and Alwyn Mushonga