Markovitz and Gottschalk – busy in Budapest

  • Sport (2)
Lynne Gottschalk and Anthula Markovitz are starting to prepare in earnest for their trip to Hungary in late August. Such preparation means a trip to Bantry Bay’s one clay tennis court so that the doubles pair can familiarise themselves with the bounce of an unfamiliar surface ahead of their trip to the European Maccabi Games in Budapest.
by LUKE ALFRED | May 23, 2019

“Clay is easier on your body,” says Gottschalk, the wife of philanthropist Eli Gottschalk. “It’s slow, and the ball doesn’t bounce as much.”

“The clay court is at the Anthony Harris Tennis Academy,” says Markovitz, who, at a year or three older than her doubles partner, has just nudged past 70. “There they’ll teach us some tricks to help us once we get to Hungary.”

Gottschalk and Markovitz have been friends for about 40 years (Gottschalk used to buy from Markovitz’s designer boutique in Sea Point), and have been playing tennis either with or against one another for many of those years (neither can decide for exactly how long).

Both are based at the Glen Tennis Club at the bottom of Clifton’s Fourth Beach, a location primed to inspire a booming second-serve or deft cross-court lob better than most. It’s one of those places that make you want to play forever, which, in a manner of speaking, is exactly what the pair have done.

They love their tennis, playing regularly three times a week. It has offered them freedom now that the children are grown up, and allowed them to travel locally and internationally, including trips to Israel to represent South Africa in the Maccabi Games in 2013 and 2017.

Gottschalk was stricken with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma a couple of years back, and in spite of suffering from the rigours of chemotherapy, tennis sustained her through a challenging time. “People shouldn’t be scared of chemo, I managed to keep it at bay,” she advises, while Markovitz says the tennis bug began to bite after the birth of her first child. “I started playing competitively only well into my thirties,” she says.

It was while in Israel for the Maccabi Games of six years ago, that Markovitz was impressed by Ian Froman’s tennis academies outside of Tel Aviv, state-of-the-art facilities bankrolled with American money. At much the same time, Markovitz started discussing the idea of opening a similar-type of facility in South Africa, with Harris (of Bantry Bay academy fame) keen to become involved.

“His dream was to do in Africa what he’s seen [done] in Israel,” says Markovitz. “I was always keen on starting a tennis academy for underprivileged kids here in Cape Town and so MATCH, which stands for ‘Make-a-Tennis-Champion’ was born.

“To date, we have eight or nine kids ranging in ages from eight or nine to 17 or 18, fully sponsored by MATCH, with our most famous graduate being Lloyd Harris, who is ranked 89th in the world. He’s a kid from Durbanville, and he’s now in Paris with Anthony preparing for the French Open. We’re all pretty interested to see how he does.”

It’s a close baseline call as to whether Markovitz enjoys playing or administering the game more. Either way, the academy has prospered to an incredible degree over the past few years, in spite of the odd hiccup when Markovitz began to doubt that she had the legs to remain in the game for the proverbial five-setter. Money was leaking through her hands like water through a racquet, and she admitted to those close to her that she was close to giving up.

She’s proud that she hung in there. MATCH has regular fundraising auctions, as well as a long list of benefactors, and so manages to bankroll impressive amounts of money for future stars’ kit, coaching, accommodation, and travel.

Young South African stars can only prosper by staying in Europe, Asia, or the United States, and campaigning there for months at a time. It costs MATCH R750 000 to keep Harris on the world circuit, and at no time has it failed to play its part or shied away from the challenge.

While keeping an interested eye on Harris at Roland Garros over the coming weeks, both Markovitz and Gottschalk need to start sharpening their appetite for Hungary. They have a reputation as the glamorous grannies of the local veteran’s circuit to preserve, after all. They’ll need to be busy in Budapest if they’re to add to their already impressive list of titles.

King David rugby to Israel

King David Linksfield’s first XV will be playing against the Israeli under-18 national side during a lightning week-long tour of Israel in July. This was confirmed by King David director of rugby, Kevin Musikanth, on Tuesday. Under coaches Dylan Col and Chris Worthington, the King David side have had a superb season, having won 11 of their 12 matches so far. These include victories over the second XV’s of Michaelhouse, St David’s, St Stithians, and St John’s.


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