The United States of America bound local tennis youngster, Faith Madikwe is relishing the prospects of plying her trade in a country that has produced some of the best tennis players to ever walk the face of the earth.
The 18-year-old Ramotswa native is set to pursue Biology and Chemistry at New Jersey City University in January next year.
“I completed my Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) last year and accumulated 43 points. I should have left for the States this year, but due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, I’ve not been able to go to begin my course. Hopefully, I’ll leave in January next year. I’m so excited as I will be able to better my tennis skills at the highest level,” she said.
Madikwe who started playing tennis for leisure aged only 8, said she began to take the sport seriously when she started featuring for the Junior National teams.
The 2017 Under 18 Motor Centre Botswana Open Champion said she’s is now focused and following in the footsteps of her idol and retired former World number one Maria Sharapova.
Amongst her other achievements include a Silver medal at the 2014 Botswana Open in the Under 14 category and a Silver medal at the 2015 Confederations of Schools Sports Association of Southern Africa (COSSASA) which was held in Zimbabwe.
“These accolades define the progress I’ve made in my tennis career since picking up the racket, and I’m going to continue working hard until I reach my goals,” Madikwe told Voice Sport.
The ambitious youngster, however, said playing her favourite sport comes with a lot of challenges that she had to contend with at an early stage.
“Being a tennis player requires one to own personal training and playing equipment. This equipment doesn’t come cheap, and I had to find a way of raising funds to be able to purchase everything I needed for training and official games,” revealed Madikwe.
“It was only through my determination that I was able to acquire the needed equipment,” she said.
Despite her eyes set on conquering University tennis and ultimately the world, there’s one opponent Madikwe will never forget, and that’s her longtime training partner Leungo Monnayoo.
“She’s always been a hard nut to crack. We grew up together and understand each other’s game so well. She knows my strengths and weakness which has always made playing her such a challenge,” concluded Madikwe.
Perhaps Madikwe should look at Sharapova for inspiration. The Russian became World Number one aged just 18 in 2005, becoming the first Russian female tennis player to top the singles rankings.