Bloemfontein, South Africa – A top entry of 562 of the country’s top junior tennis players are in the Free State capital, Mangaung for this week’s South African Junior Nationals.

South Africa’s premier junior tennis event will be contested in four age groups namely the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 at four Bloemfontein tennis venues. The players will play in singles and doubles events within each of the age groups.

The five day event to be played from 24-29 March, 2016.

The under 12 age group will play at Grey and Eunice schools with the under 14 playing at the University of Free State courts. The Free State Stadium will host the boys and girls under 16 and under 18 age groups.

All the semi-finals and finals on Monday and Tuesday the 28th and 29th of March will be played at the main venue, The Free State Tennis Stadium.

The South African Junior Nationals follows the Dunlop Free State Challenge the official warm up tournament for the nationals.

Acting Tennis South Africa (TSA) CEO Gavin Crookes said that the South African Junior Nationals formed an important part of the development of tennis in South Africa. “We at TSA take the development of tennis very seriously and see it as the future success of our sport. When you get over 500 of the country’s top junior players together in one city at one time you enable the players to battle amongst the best and off court have good social fun which is an important part of the growth of the players and the game.”

Crookes said that Bloemfontein was the perfect venue for the big event. “We have over the years chosen Bloemfontein to host the Junior National Championships due to the fact that they have a large amount of courts in fabulous condition, great tennis venues and an abundance of affordable accommodation. It made sense for TSA to partner with Free State Tennis and play our premier junior tennis event giving the players and their parents, coaches and academies an affordable and good tennis experience.”