TENNIS Zimbabwe administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, says lack of tournaments is now affecting the quality of play by locals after junior players were knocked out of the ITF/CAT African Junior 18-and-Under Championships in Potchefstroom, South Africa. Zimbabwe sent a nine-member team for the tournament but they all found the going tough with Taremeredzwa Mariga, Luca Picci and Alwyn Mushonga being knocked out in the first round.
Courtney Lock and Ronzai Saurombe, who had received byes in the first round, lost their matches in the third round.
Mariga lost 1-6, 0-6 to Ismael Mzai of Kenya while Mushonga went down to Lesotho's Lebelo Mosehle 1-6, 5-7. Picci was overpowered by Yaseen Ibrahim 1-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3).
Saurombe beat Soufiane Mouline 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-4 before losing to top seed Wayne Montgomery of South Africa 1-6, 3-6 in the third round.
Another top player, Lock beat Abubakar Tswako of Nigeria 6-3, 6-1 before losing to fifth seed Mathew Rossouw in straight sets 1-6, 1-6.
Saurombe and Lock were also knocked out in the doubles by the pair of Montgomery and Rossouw 1-6, 2-6 while Mariga and Mushonga were dismissed 3-6, 2-6 by the Kellerman brothers, Francois and Okkie from South Africa.
It was the same story for in the girls' section as Latifah Yasini and Zahra Finnigan won their opening matches while Nicole Dzenga and Thabile Tshatedi got byes but they all failed to progress to the third round.
Dzenga lost Theresa Van Zyl 2-6, 1-6 and Tshatedi was beaten by Lina Qostal 1-6, 2-6.
Nhokwara said although the players are now playing in the back draw they will get points for rankings.