The ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championship in Moscow took place from 2 to 7 July, and saw the South African team compete among seasoned European teams for the first time. The duo finished fifteenth overall, despite two close matches with Chile and Spain. PDBY spoke to Kyla Yelverton, one half of the duo, about the new sport, the current season and juggling it with studies and lecturing.
Similar to tennis, beach tennis is a relatively new sport in South Africa but has been growing over the last two years. The game is played on sand on a volley ball sized court with carbon fibre paddles and a softer ball, referred to as an “orange ball” due to its colour. Yelverton, an experienced tennis player having played for TuksTennis for seven years, took the sport up last year and currently holds and international player ranking of 106th. Together with her partner Helga Jeske, the duo holds first place in Africa. Since returning from Moscow, the duo qualified for the ANOC World Beach Games in Qatar, which is set to take place from 12 to 16 October. Unfortunately, the duo is unable to attend due to a decision from SASCOC. Despite the ruling, Yelverton says the team is “training hard, staying positive”. The duo is set to compete in the ITF games in Cape Town over 13 to 15 September, and has begun preparing, “we’re training every week again, doubling up on our training as much as we can” said Yelverton, adding “we’re going to do our best to win this one.”
When asked how she manages beach tennis with post grad studies and lecturing, Yelverton says “time management”, adding “it’s really a matter of doing everything you can where you are and moving on to the next thing.” Yelverton still plays for TuksTennis, saying “it’s been good, I’ve been playing league every Saturday, as Tuks we’re preparing for USSA in December.” Alongside USSA, Yelverton will also be competing in the ITF Kia Summer Slam in December, but says “it is difficult to start preparing now, it’s obviously good to stay fit, but closer to the time we’ll start getting a bit more serious. We are going to start pushing and training more.
Photo: up.ac.za, Reg Caldecott