10 December 2019 | Story Ruan Bruwer | Photo Supplied
The members of the Kovsie tennis team are, from the left, front: Danique Reynders, Reze Opperman, Daniel de Villiers, Ester de Kock, Lienke de Kock, Anandhi Botha, and Janine de Kock (team manager); back: Marnus Kleinhans (coach), Heinrich Willemse, Emke Kruger, Arne Nel, Ryk Kleinhans, Handre Hoffman, and Ruben Kruger.

The country’s number one student team and South Africa’s second-best club. This is the bragging rights earned by the University of the Free State’s (UFS) tennis team after winning the 2019 University Sport South Africa (USSA) Tennis Championship. 

The Kovsie team claimed their ninth consecutive USSA title on Friday 6 December in Stellenbosch, winning all their matches. The team comprised both men and women – a combination which has been in place since 2010. Since 2010, there has been only one name on the USSA trophy, with the Kovsie team winning from 2010 to 2015 and again from 2017 to 2019. The competition was not hosted in 2016.   

In the 2019 USSA final against Maties, Kovsies was declared the winner, with the score 7-1 after completing seven singles matches and one doubles. A match consisted of four men’s singles, four women’s singles, two men’s doubles, two women’s doubles, and two mixed doubles. 

Arne Nel, Ruben Kruger, Handre Hoffman, Heinrich Willemse, Ester de Kock, and Reze Opperman all won their singles in straight sets. Kruger and Willemse combined for a win in the only doubles match.

On their road to victory, the team had wins over the North-West University (Mafikeng Campus), the University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Pretoria. The victory over the University of Pretoria in the semi-final was revenge for the Sun City University Championship in March, where they denied Kovsies a fourth consecutive crown in that competition.

Another feather in the cap for Kovsie tennis was that two team members, Willemse and Kruger, along with two management members – Marnus Kleinhans and Janine de Kock, respectively UFS tennis coach and team manager – were chosen for the South African team to the World Student Games in July. 


We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.