South Africa-based young tennis star Tendai Tapfuma will represent Zimbabwe at the prestigious Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships which are scheduled to take place at the Frank Veltri Tennis Centre in Florida, from December 5-11.
The 65-year-old Orange Bowl tennis tournament is a training ground for all potential future tennis stars and that is where they get their first exposure to player agents, reporters and college scholarship offers.
According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) website Tapfuma, who will be making his debut at the tournament will, however, have to go through the qualifying rounds to make the draw of 64 as he falls outside the top 100 on the ITF junior world rankings.
17-year-old Tapfuma — currently ranked fifth on the continent and 117th in the world will be hoping to use the Orange Bowl Tennis Championships to further improve his ranking as the tournament is classified Grade A tournament by the ITF.
Grade A events offer the most ranking points and also include the Junior Grand Slam tournaments.
Tapfuma, who is based at the ITF/South Africa Tennis Association training centre in Pretoria, is probably one of the brightest rising Zimbabwean junior tennis players.
Recently, he combined with compatriot Benjamin Lock to win the doubles title at the Tuks Open Tennis tournament at the LC de Villiers Sports grounds in Pretoria, South Africa.
Lock represented Zimbabwe last year where he made the main draw before being awarded a full tennis scholarship at Florida State University.
Takanyi Garanganga who recently won a gold medal at the All-Africa Games in Mozambique also took part in the 2006 and 2007 tournaments.
Tennis Zimbabwe administrator Cliff Nhokwara said it was encouraging to see local players getting the necessary exposure by being given an opportunity to play at such prestigious tournaments.