Clarke confident of promotion after naming SA team for BJK Cup tournament

tennis04 June 2024 14:15| © SuperSport
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Isabella Kruger © Tennis South Africa

Preparing to lead another young team into battle next week, captain Roxanne Clarke believes the WIPHOLD SA Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup squad can stand up and deliver at the Africa Group III tournament in Nairobi, Kenya, between 10-15 June.

As was the case in their last appearance in the international team competition, the SA squad unveiled by Clarke consists of four players under the age of 20 - Isabella Kruger, Heike Janse van Vuuren, Lilitha Ndungane and Gabriella Broadfoot

With only two BJK Cup tournaments under their belts between the four of them, the national team will have to be at their best to secure promotion back to Euro/Africa Group II after being relegated last year.

Clarke, however, believes they have enough experience at age group level to be able to put up a fight.

"It's exciting to be competing against other nations from Africa because our players have competed against them throughout their junior careers," said Clarke.

"We have quite a young team again this year and it's very exciting for me to watch these players grow."


Kruger and Janse van Vuuren are the only two players in the squad who have BJK Cup experience, and each of them have competed in only one tournament for the national team.

Janse van Vuuren, who competes for the University of Kansas on the US collegiate circuit, won all four of her matches during the Euro/Africa Group III tournament in North Macedonia in 2022.

Last year, Kruger competed in four matches during the Euro/Africa Group II tournament, when the SA team were relegated after losing to Malta in a playoff tie in Oeiras, Portugal.

Lilitha Ndungane (18) and Gabriella Broadfoot (19) have never represented the national squad, but they will both be hoping to make an impact while gaining valuable senior experience.

Ndungane, ranked among the top 900 in the ITF junior singles and doubles lists, displayed good form when she reached the second round of a recent WIPHOLD International ITF W50 tournament in Pretoria.

Broadfoot, who plays for North Carolina State University in the US, is among the top 1100 in the ITF singles and WTA doubles rankings.

"I know that we have quite a good chance of progressing to Euro/Africa Group II, so we're looking forward to this event and I'm sure the girls will bring their best," said Clarke.

A total of 12 countries will compete in Nairobi. Aside from South Africa, entrants include hosts Kenya, as well as Burundi, Botswana, Ghana, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Tunisia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Three pools of four teams will turn out in the opening round. The top team in each pool will compete for promotion in the second stage, while the bottom team in each group will be locked in a battle to avoid relegation.


Isabella Kruger

Heike Janse van Vuuren

Lilitha Ndungane

Gabriella Broadfoot

Team Captain: Roxanne Clarke

Team Physiotherapist: Leanne Samaai