Wits tennis player gains national recognition

AFTER just six months of playing for the Wits Tennis Club, Ann Snyman has been selected to play for the South African University Tennis Squad.

Snyman was the only Wits student selected from a number of students who took part in the University Sport South Africa (USSA) tournament which took place in Bloemfontein on July 7.

The 19-year-old, who started playing tennis at the young age of eight, told Wits Vuvuzela that she could not believe it when she was informed of her achievement earlier this month.
“I was happy but it didn’t feel real. I kept asking my coach what it all meant and I just couldn’t stop smiling. I am still overwhelmed and I see this as an opportunity to further and better my tennis,” she said.

Snyman, a first-year BA General student, said that although she loved the sport, she had a difficult time actually learning to enjoy the game.

“I was too hard on myself and I took the sport and my matches too seriously to be able to actually enjoy playing. I had to learn to transition and relax a bit. I am more relaxed when I play now and the moment I stop enjoying it, I must not play,” Snyman said.

Snyman added that she could not have achieved this without the support of her team and coach.
“During some of my matches I would not play to my full potential and my coach would always come onto the court and motivate me. The team has supported me on and off the court and they have believed in me no matter what. Everyone supports each other,” she said.

Wits Tennis Club coach, Byron Werbeloff, who has been coaching Snyman since the beginning of the year, told Wits Vuvuzela that her mental strength has led her to this achievement.

“She is very resilient and her ability to come back has improved. She has the ability to win matches even if she is not playing her best tennis. She always finds a way to win,” he said.
Werbeloff, said that her achievement was a good sign for Wits Tennis.

“It shows that Wits tennis is on the right path and that we are able to cultivate the talent that Wits has.”
The 27-year-old coach also said that he wanted Snyman to enjoy this journey.

“This is a great achievement, she will be playing nationally and it’s an incredible feeling, but it can get overwhelming. There will be ups and downs but through it all she needs to train and enjoy the process,” he said.
Wits Tennis Club chairperson, Thato Lebelo told Wits Vuvuzela that Snyman had made them proud.

“We as the tennis club are very proud of her. She has grown as a player and has more confidence is herself. She has more confidence in the way she plays. Ann is a bowl of fun. She is humble and she deserves this,” he said.

Lebelo told Wits Vuvuzela that the tennis team had not participated in the USSA tournament for three years.
“We have had a lack of participation and the team had been quite average. We have had a few first years join the club and they have added a new energy to it,” said the 21 year-old.

The South African University Tennis Squad is made up of 24 players who are each top players from their respective universities. The squad will take part in trials in April 2019 where eight players will be chosen to represent South Africa in the world student games in Italy.

FEATURED IMAGE: Another day on the courts as Ann Snyman practices her shots                                                   PHOTO: Palesa Dlamini