Nompumelelo and Nozipho Montja might be unknown names now, writes Wendy Chadwick. But if it is up to the twins hopefully they will be as popular as their idols, the Williams sisters, in the not too distant future.
Born and brought up in Soweto the 15-year -old twins live with their father who is a chef by profession. They are Grade Nine scholars at the nearby Letsibogo Girls High School where the enjoyment of their studies and attending class is somewhat overshadowed by their disappointment at not being able to play tennis for their school as there are no courts.
They started playing tennis in 2004 after a visit to their uncle in Pretoria where they per chance happened to see some players in action.
Being curious and rather intrigued about the game they decided to try it for themselves.The next day on their return home they immediately went to the Mzimhlophe Club in Soweto to sign up. Thus creating a love and passion for the game which they are determined will play a large part of their futures.
Nompumelelo and Nozipho attend lessons four times a week ÔÇô Monday and Fridays they walk to their local tennis club whilst every Wednesday they are coached at the Weltevreden Park Tennis Club in the North West of Johannesburg by Mickey and Darren Styles.
This forms part of the GC Development Program where approximately 12 players are bused in from Soweto every Wednesday afternoon during school term, to receive professional coaching and gain some match practice. These young players are entirely sponsored by the GC Tennis Association who assists them with transport, kit – which includes clothing and equipment, stringing and entry fees for junior tournaments. Saturday mornings are reserved for training at the Gauteng Central Tennis Provincial squad sessions.
Unfortunately due to financial and transport restraints they are unable to enter many tournaments but when they do ÔÇô they generally manage to leave their mark. In the recent GC Mini Series 1 played in February, the girls were hoping to make it a sisterly final however in the semi finals Nozipho was beaten by Kelly Goosen and sister Nompumelelo decided to revenge her twin’s loss by beating Kelly in the Under-16 final. This is not their first taste of success having won the Under-14 doubles title in the GC Super 7 a couple of years ago.
In 2007 Nozipho represented her province (GC) at the prestigious SATA annual junior Inter Provincial tournament held in East London. The following year, both girls were selected to the SA Team which participated in the ITF South and Central Under-13 development circuit. Nozipho and Nompumelelo were also selected as ball kids for the SA Open in 2010.
ÔÇ£The twins are very tenacious girls and they always want to do well despite things not being easy for themÔÇØ says coach Mickey Styles. ÔÇ£They are extremely competitive players who always think positively and are quick to seize any opportunity and make it a milestone.ÔÇØ
They love their tennis but like all teenagers they also love being with friends and listening to Lady Gagga and the Black Eyed Peas. Both had no hesitation in declaring that lasagna and pap and vleis are there favorite foods. Boyfriends are not on the cards for now ÔÇô tennis and studying being far more important.
You would have guessed correctly if you said that the Williams sisters are their favorite players with Roger Federer and Gael Monfils coming in a close second. They both agree that playing at Wimbledon is their ultimate goal and being extremely dedicated and above all passionate about their tennis, there’s little doubt that their determination will pay off, and who knows, maybe one day, South Africans will immediately recognize the names Nompumelelo and Nozipho Montja.