Botswana Tennis Association (BTA), in their efforts to develop the local game have stepped up their intensions to source funds for the association to catalyze and accelerate player development.

To achieve their objectives of turning local tennis game into a commercially viable vehicle, BTA President, Oaitse Thipe has outlined some of the key strategies they have put in place ahead of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) J60 tournament billed for this weekend.

“It is very costly to host tournaments but it is also very important to host them. We are working very hard to try and sell naming rights of the national tennis centre, we are looking for a corporate partner to come on board,” Thipe shared.

“In a year, we host a lot of tournaments, that guarantees publicity for the potential partner, we are engaging with a number of corporates to sell this idea. If you look closely at our two courts, court one has got lots of advertising space, the area is also in a good spot for any brand to position their image. Even this coming Friday, I was at the BOCCIM golf day event and we engaged with some corporates to see how best we can work with them,” he added.

The local tennis governing mother-body recently hosted the ITF J30 tournament which will be followed by another ITF J60 tournament this weekend. Thipe further highlighted that they need partners to successfully deliver the events and augment budgetary constraints on government, parents and players to promote development of local tennis. He said a single tournament cost around P50 000 which includes paying umpires, buying equipment (tennis balls) doctors and physiotherapist during any of their events—Gaone Powane who recently officiated at the Wimbledon tennis finals will be officiating over the weekend.

“The ITF set the payment standards for referees, we also must provide meals for them—an on-call doctor has to be arranged for but the physiotherapist must always be nearby, all these should cost not more than P50 000 to run a single tournament,” he shared.

The ITF J60 will be followed by the ITF J100 tournament in September with BTA looking to host PRO Circuit tournaments next year.

The BTA president indicated that as the association, they have set themselves a target to compete in at least one junior grand-slam next year.

“Mark Nawa is really close and Ntungamili Raguin is based in France in a good academy and he is really not far off, that is why we are hosting lots of tournaments to give our athletes an opportunity to accumulate more points.

Denzel Seetso is also doing well but the plan is to have him join college and play Pro- Circuit tournaments—Pro-Circuits are well paying, all participants are paid appearance fees, one tournament can cost close to USD 300 000,” the BTA president stated.

Thipe indicated that at the present moment, they charge players, tournament entrance fees to augment budget cost to deliver successful events.

In conclusion, he reiterated that hosting tournaments positions BTA in good position to be a major player in the local economy with the tourism sector getting a lion share of the benefits.