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ZIMBABWE’s tennis star Takanyi Garanganga has hailed Mutare’s Mantas Tennis Academy for its commitment to developing the sport in the country.

The United States-based tennis star made the remarks in Mutare last weekend where he was conducting a one-day coaching clinic for the academy in an event that also coincided with its 2014 annual awards.

Garanganga said the academy — despite facing serious financial problems — was a shining beacon of junior tennis development in the country.

“I think the academy is on the right track. They are really doing well and my wish is that they should continue to work very hard in both the administration and the court,” he said.

“I was briefed that they are facing financial challenges but it is really difficult to tell because they have fine players.

“I am urging the players to continue to work hard to reach high levels in their careers. But what is now needed for the players is exposure. They need to participate in various regional and international events. This is where the corporate world should come to assist,” he said.

Former Tennis Zimbabwe president Anne Martin, who is the director of the academy also appealed for corporate world assistance.

“It is really difficult to run the academy. We are making sacrifices together with the coaching department, parents and players. So we are appealing to the corporate world to come on board and help us financially. We don’t need something big but we just need their help,” she said.

The academy has over 45 tournament players and 2 000 development players from the under 10-18 age groups.

The leading junior tennis conveyor belt in the country on most occasions dominates junior national teams set up as it provides the bulk of players that represent the nation at various regional tournaments. Since 1996, 40 of its players have won tennis scholarships abroad.

The first player to come through the ranks of Mantas Tennis Academy is Genius Chidzikwe, a player who grew up in Mutare and had a chance to enroll at the academy during its infancy.

He became the first player from the academy to be awarded a tennis scholarship in the United States of America in 1996.

Female tennis player Pauline Chawafambira was the last player from the academy to be awarded a six-year tennis scholarship at the Eastern Arizona College in the US in 2014 becoming the 40th player from the academy to move abroad.

Other players who are also enrolled abroad include former Under-18 men number one Ronzai Saurombe and Taremedzwa Mariga who are both based at Seward Community College.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard