The players of TuksTennis are starting to seriously make their presence felt on the local, national student tennis scene.
Over the weekend in Potchefstroom Amy Olivier and Henco Doman have been selected for the provisional squad of eight from which the final team of six (three men and three women) will be chosen to represent South Africa at the World Student Games in Italy.
Their selection should not be a surprise. The rise of TuksTennis is part of long term strategy. In the past Tuks tended just to make up the numbers during the annual USSA Tournament but that started to change in 2017 when the team went on to contest the final against Kovsies. Last year Tuks lost out again to Kovsies in the final, but this could change. During December’s USSA Tournament Tuks might just go all the way as most of last year’s team will again be playing.
Olivier, a fourth-year medical student at Tuks, impressed on Saturday during the women’s fitness challenge by being the “last one” standing. That really took some doing. Every day is a challenge to her as she has to do a juggling act between attending classes, studying and then in between get to go to the court to hit a few balls. She is, however, not complaining.
“Since school, I have learned the importance to make every minute of every day count. Astonishingly I seem to flourish when under pressure.”
According to Olivier, she has been playing tennis since she can remember. When under-18 she was ranked in the top ten locally. After school, she took up the offer to play college tennis in the USA. She was based at the University of Louisiana Monroe.
“It was a great experience. In South Africa, it is easy to get into a comfort zone. It was while I was in the USA I truly realised what it would take to become a top player in the world. It felt like there were no bad players and everybody had the same goal. That is to become even better. I was especially impressed by the Europeans. They ate, drank and slept tennis all the time,” said Tuks’s top-ranked female player.
Olivier would have loved to try and make a career from tennis but her other big passion, getting a real opportunity to make a positive change in people’s lives got the better of her that is why she took studying medicine. However, that does not mean she is any less passionate about tennis.
“It would be a really great honour if I can get to represent South Africa at the Student Games. To do so will take a lot of hard work and significant sacrifices but I am up to it. And I would really love to be part of a TuksTennis team that wins the USSA Tournament.
“I honestly believe we can win it. Every player just get to buy into the concept of no game is won or lost until the last point is played. In other words, we all need more ‘BMT’. Last year at times it felt like we were to blaze when we were losing matches.”