The best of the best junior tennis players to do battle in Manguang

Johannesburg, South Africa – Following the international announcement in March this year by footwear and apparel manufacturer Nike that they have discontinued the global Nike junior Tour, Tennis South Africa (TSA) have announced a replacement event.

The new tournament to be called the TSA Junior Masters will reward the best of the best local juniors in the age-groups 12 & under, 14 & under, 16 & under and 18 & under with an opportunity to battle in an 8 knock out draw event, while the concept of a Masters is the same as the ATP and WTA Tours, the format for 2014 will be slightly different.

TSA are still in negotiations in securing a sponsor for this prestigious event. However should a sponsor not be found in time for the event, TSA will cover the costs of the tournament.

Gavin Crookes, President of TSA said that a tournament of this nature was crucially important for the development of tennis in South Africa. “We realised that the popularity and the success of the former Nike Junior Tour Masters was considerable and played a major role in the stimulation of our top junior players which in turn assisted in the promotion and development of the game in the junior age-groups. With the news that Nike were discontinuing with the Nike Junior Tour, TSA decided to replace the long standing tournament (since 1998 for under 12 and 14 age groups) with a TSA Masters based on the same principle but to go one better and include all age-groups in the annual competition.”

The TSA Masters will be played on 9 & 10 October 2014 at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein immediately after the completion of the Free State KeyHealth Super 7 Series event.

There will be 16 players boys and girls that will qualify for the singles only tournament in each of the age groups. The 8 players will qualify in the 12&U, 14&U, 16&U and 18&U as per the age groups combined ranking list which will be used to identify/select the top 8 players. The ranking list as produced after the finals of the Free State Keyhealth event will be used to finalise the top 8.

The TSA Masters will count towards the National Ranking.

The 12&U and 14&U Singles winners will each receive a R5,000 Travel Allowance with the 16&U and 18&U Singles winners each receiving a R10,000 Travel Allowance.

Crookes also confirmed that over and above the TSA Masters event (on court), TSA will be looking at ways to capitalise on the opportunity of having the top 8 players in each respective age group together in terms of compulsory discussion seminars intended for the players, coaches and parents.

“The on court tennis action is important but whilst we have the cream of junior tennis in Manguang as well as their coaches and parents, TSA will take the opportunity to do all-important off court information seminars whereby TSA will bring in experts to discuss and debate topics that will assist the junior players in the growth and development as they aspire to become top professional players” said Crookes.