16-year-old tennis star Kholo Montsi powers into world top 20
Cape Town - A young tennis star who trains in Sea
Point has been ranked among the top
20 junior boy players in the world by
the International Tennis Federation.
Kholo Montsi, 16, has far exceeded
Kholo Montsi, 16, has far exceeded his expectations: his goal was to make it into the top 50 by January. Instead, he was ranked number 18 this month.
“I always believed it could happen, but I never thought it would happen so soon,” he said. “It’s honestly insane; I’m super-proud of myself. I just want to keep going.”
Kholo was born in King William’s Town, and from a young age it was evident he had a natural gift for sport; he was awarded South African colours for karate at the age of 6.
His prowess in various sports became even more noticeable when he attended Selborne College in East London - but if it wasn’t for his older brother, he might not have picked up a tennis racquet.
“I never actually watched or liked tennis - my favourite sport was rugby,” he said. “But my brother started playing tennis. Because he’s the older brother, I just wanted to copy what he does. I picked up a racquet and started playing as well. It came naturally.”
Kholo was given a scholarship by Curro Hazeldean school in Pretoria and the brothers moved to that city, where they continued playing tennis. Two years ago, Kholo moved to Cape Town to join the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy in Sea Point.
With a great coaching and conditioning team behind him at the academy, Kholo started being homeschooled, which gave him the freedom to travel to tennis tournaments around the world and train for four hours a day and then spend an hour in the gym.
“I’m not playing just to be world’s best player for myself,” he said. “I want to help my family and I want to inspire other kids around South Africa, and the world. I want them to realise that it doesn’t matter where you come from - you can still make it.”
Kholo has aspirations off the tennis court, too - he plans to study law. “In the next few years, I’ll either be in a lecture hall studying law or I’ll be on the court, playing for my family.”
Coach Anthony Harris said he’d watched Kholo grow in many areas of the sport over the past two years.
“His tennis has grown and is evolving into a man’s game as opposed to junior tennis,” Harris said. “His mentality and professionalism is evolving daily. He is becoming an amazing person with a clear professional vision and understanding.”
He hoped Kholo would emulate South African tennis champion Lloyd Harris. “Our goal is to produce an African champion. We already have Lloyd in the Association of Tennis Professionals men’s top 100, and we believe Kholo can follow in Lloyd’s footsteps.”