By Lameez Omarjee and Bongiwe Tutu
Third year BCom Law student, Adam Gordon, was consistent in taking the lead over head tennis coach, Byron Werbeloff (23). He finished the first set with a score 6-1. Werbeloff fought hard to “come from behind” but the second set ended with 6-4 to Gordon.
Players were in good spirits before the match. Although nervous to be playing against his coach, Gordon was hoping to win. “I’m just going to enjoy myself and play my best”. He has been playing since the age of three and was coached by his father.
I would be happy if my best student won because it shows progress.
Werbeloff admitted there was pressure on him to win because he is the coach, but said: “I would be happy if my best student won because it shows progress.”
Spectators had different opinions about who would win. Ledimo Mello, 3rd year BAccSci was behind Werbeloff and Alexander Stawsell, 1st year BSc, thought Gordon had the “edge”, because he won a previous match, “the coach has been sick these past few days,” he said.
Gordon sweeped the first set but the tension of the second set was marked with more energy from both players. Although Gordon won, he felt he could have done better. “It feels good. I did what I could to win, it helped that I remained consistent.” He added: “I didn’t play my best tennis, I should have been more aggressive” . Werbeloff also felt he could have been more aggressive in the game.
Tennis club tournaments are open to all members and this is why Werbeloff could play in the championship. Werbeloff however gave his second place to student Rishay Bharath, 2nd year BSc mechanical engineering, saying “since I am the coach I would rather have one of my students take the win”. Witsie Mike Stephansen, 3rd year BAccSci, was placed third.
In another match Vladimer Makic, 2nd year BSc Applied Maths took fourth place when he beat Michael Wrathall, 1st year BSc aeronautical engineering. Makic said he won because “I served like a machine.”
The Wits tennis club has “raised record numbers of tennis players” and is one of the top five university clubs in the country, according to Werbeloff. A Wooden racket tournament will be hosted in October to raise funds for the team, possibly for bursaries. They hope to revive tennis and reach the number one spot in the country.
The Women’s finals will take place on Tuesday at 5pm, at the Bozzoli tennis courts.
This article was featured in the Wits Vuvuzela