One of Zimbabwean brightest young tennis prospect, Tendai Tapfuma, was knocked out in the first round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in Florida, United States on Monday.
According to reports, the 17-year-old South Africa-based young tennis star lost 7-5, 7-6 to Greece’s Markos Kalovelonis in straight sets as he struggled to adjust to the purple hard courts at the Crandon Park Tennis Centre.
Tapfuma — ranked fifth on the continental rankings and 117th in the world — was initially expected to go through the qualifying rounds, but ended up starting his campaign from the first round proper.
The ongoing tour has been a learning curve for young Tapfuma, who last week was knocked out in the first round of the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships by American Thai Kwiatkowski 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 at the IMG Academy in Florida.
Tapfuma will have another opportunity to make amends when he combines with Burundi’s teenage sensation Hassan Ndayishimiye — ranked an impressive 62nd on the ITF junior world rankings.
The African duo is scheduled to tackle American William Kwok and Russia’s Konstantin Gerlakh in the first round of the boys’ doubles competition later this week.
The 65-year-old Orange Bowl attracts the world’s best junior tennis players and for most of them it is where they get their first exposure to player agents, reporters and college scholarship offers.
Benjamin Lock — another South Africa-based Zimbabwean young tennis star — took part in last year’s tournament and his performances earned him a full tennis scholarship from Florida State University.