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Nawa reigns supreme

14 Apr 2024

Local tennis sensation, Mark Nawa is the champion of the ITF J30 World Tour Juniors Championships after defeating South Africa’s Siyabonga Jaca in the final.

Nawa beat Jaca 7-5, 6-2 at the National Tennis Court on Saturday to become the second Motswana to win the men’s World Tour Juniors singles after Botswana’s decorated tennis player, Denzel Seetso.

For Nawa, the win demonstrated that perseverance and patience could take one far.

His unprecedented win was not only special to him but to the whole tennis community as he has featured in four J30 singles finals and lost.

It was clear in the final match against Jaca, who had defeated him in the two previous encounters, that he was out for blood.

It was not surprising that Jaca started the match fully aware that he was up against his regular prey.

Lo and behold, Nawa turned things around and attacked like a wounded lion and eventually defeated his nemesis.

Enroute to the final, Nawa had to dig deep to win his matches.

His journey was not all rosy, as he had to go past tough opponents in the likes of Great Britain’s Aston Joshua and brushed him aside with a 7-5, 7-6 win before proceeding to the quarterfinals, where he met South Africa’s Akexander Hristov.

Hristov proved to be hard nut to crack, but the determined and results-driven Nawa prevailed with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

His semi final match against Mpho Leshoele of Lesotho was a highly contested nail-biting encounter, which saw the local sensation losing the first set 4-6.  

Now, driven by the desire to win and to clear a dark cloud that has been hovering over him for long, Nawa had to win the last two sets 6-2, 6-3 to book a berth in the final.

Nawa said in a post-match interview that he was mentally and physically prepared for the final match hence he came out on top.

He said his confidence, which was at its peak helped him to claim the title, which eluded him for long.

He said he was charged up and ready to win other tournaments.

“I am really proud with my performance this week, and I hope I can carry it into future tournaments,” he said.

 Jaca, said his knee injury coupled with body feeling heavy contributed to his loss as he could not move as he had wanted.

“But to be honest, Mark played very well.

He worked very hard and he was stronger than me,” he said.

In the ladies singles final, South Africa’s Celina Joseph defeated Koronayashe Rugara of United States of America 6-3, 6-1. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Anastacia Sibanda

Location : GABORONE

Event : tennis

Date : 14 Apr 2024