Zambian national Dickson Phiri and Namibia’s Linique Theron were crowned champions at the 2023 Hollard Life Swakopmund Senior Open Tennis Tournament over the weekend.
The tournament, held annually and open to players aged 12 and above, saw fierce competition in both the singles and doubles categories among the 64 participants.
“This is the tournament that one wants to close the year off well” said Michau Basson of Hollard Life.
The tournament was a culmination of the tennis calendar and attracted international players, including a promising player from Austria.
In the women’s doubles, the duo of Joanivia Bezuidenhout and Theron clinched the title. The men’s doubles saw a victory for Daniel Jauss and Deon van Dyk.
“It’s a festive vibe, everyone’s in the holiday spirit, but it’s also the one tournament you work towards during the year.”
The tournament, known for its long matches and intense battles, did not disappoint this year, with some contests stretching over three hours.
This year marked a shift in prize money, with Hollard Life deciding to split the winnings evenly between the men and women’s players, a principle that is increasingly recognised internationally, according to Basson.
The inclusion of a junior tournament was also a highlight, aiming to provide young talents with valuable competition experience and integrating them into senior levels.
“We want those juniors to stay and play in the senior tournament,” he said.
The tournament, previously known as the Hansa Open, spans over 40 years and continues to evolve.
“We’re hoping to draw more international players,” Basson said.
Tournament coordinator Jandre Bezuidenhout called the competition a “melting pot of talent”.
“It’s a platform for juniors to step up to the senior level and we saw remarkable performances, especially from our younger participants,” he said.
Bezuidenhout noted that tennis in Namibia is on an “impressive rise”, especially among juniors.
“What’s crucial is the discipline they display, alongside their natural talent. With the advent of online and home schooling, more young athletes now have the opportunity to pursue their sporting dreams without compromising their education.”
The tournament also served as a preparatory stage for the southern African zonals, a major regional event Namibia is set to host in January.
“Our players, especially the juniors, showed tremendous progression, setting the stage for future successes in regional tournaments,” Bezuidenhout said.
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