Written by Bianca Woolley, based on discussions with Bruce Young and Rowena Sanders, Highbury’s Professional Tennis Coaches.
Meet Bruce Young and Rowena Sanders, owners of the ProTennis Academy at Highbury. My sons have been going to tennis lessons with them for the last year and it was not until I had this opportunity to interview them that I had any idea of the incredible calibre of coach they both are.
Bruce and Rowena have been coaching together for the past 30 years. They don't just run the ProTennis Academy at Highbury, they actually do the coaching themselves. In this way, they ensure that all the boys are being taught by the best, all the way from Grade 00 through to Elite Player Management.
Rowena is actually a fully qualified teacher and started coaching tennis at the age of 23 after playing International Tennis for four years. During this time, Rowena achieved a World Singles Ranking of #42. She played on Centre Court at Wimbledon against two of the greatest players of all time - Christine Marie Evert and Martina Navratilova, with Alison McDade, and also played in the US Open, French Open and in fact in all the Grand Slam Events. Rowena has not only played at the highest levels, but also coached at the highest levels, most notably as the South African Women's Fed Cup coach for seven years.
Bruce is playing tennis at the highest levels today and is currently ranked #1 and #2 in the world for Mixed Doubles by SATA and ITF World Tennis respectively in the Mens 45-50 age group. Bruce's professional tennis career included six years of coaching and playing German league tennis in Hamburg and he has personally coached International players at tournaments ranging from Wimbledon to ITF Tournaments in places like China, Japan, Hong Kong and Austria to name a few.
The ProTennis Academy has coached some top International tennis stars, including Wes Moodie who was a Wimbledon Doubles winner (2005), and Damon Kesaris who was #1 in SA U16/U18 and #85 in the World ITF rankings (2016).
When Bruce and Rowena look back over their years of coaching tennis at Highbury, they are especially proud of Highbury Old Boys like Chris Coetzee and Richard Ashforth who gained tennis scholarships for the USA, Shaun Leagas and Sean Coetzee who were top National and KZN players respectively, and Matt Ebden who is currently a professional tennis player in Australia.
Tennis is a foundation for all other sports, as well as being a life sport, and we are privileged to have such outstanding and passionate tennis coaches right here at Highbury.