Namibia: Van Schalkwyk On the Move

Namibia’s budding young tennis star, Connor van Schalkwyk, has broken into the world’s top-200 junior rankings for the first time, following a recent string of impressive results.

On 22 August he won the Swedish Junior Open title in Kramfors when he beat Saba Nanobashvili of Sweden 6-4, 6-3 in the boys’ final.

That was a J5-ranked tournament where the competition level was relatively easy, but the week thereafter Van Schalkwyk entered the more challenging J4 Pretoria Junior ITF tournament, where he was ranked third, behind two South Africans, the top-seeded Devin Badenhorst and the second-seeded Luc Koenig.

Van Schalkwyk, however, pulled off two upsets as he beat Badenhorst 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the semi-finals, before clinching his second title with a 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 victory against Koenig in the final.

A week later he was at it again, competing in an even tougher tournament, the J3 Johannesburg Wanderers Junior ITF tournament, where he once again excelled.

In the quarter-finals he beat the fifth-seeded Connor Kruger of South Africa 7-5, 7-5, and in the semi-finals again beat Badenhorst, who was once again the top seed, 6-1, 6-3.

Van Schalkwyk’s winning run, however, came to an end in the final, which he lost 6-1, 6-4 to the second-seeded Koenig.

Van Schalkwyk’s recent run of success has seen him shooting up the junior world rankings and breaking into the top 200 for the first time.

After being ranked 287th among the world’s top juniors in August, Van Schalkwyk has now improved by nearly 100 places to 196th in the world.