Henning receives his senior Proteas colours

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Philip Henning PHOTO: MORGAN PIEK
The 17-year-old tennis star from Bloemfontein, Philip Henning, received his full senior national colours on Thursday morning during a special assembly at his school, Grey College.
Henning represented South Africa over the past weekend during the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group 1 tie against Portugal.

Because Henning played in the fifth match of the tie, he received his blazer from the president of Tennis South Africa, Gavin Crookes, who was in attendance.

Henning told Courant that it was special to receive the honours at a place which lies close to his heart.

“It is a great honour to receive my Proteas colours, especially at the school which is somewhat of a sacred place. It’s very close to my heart.

“What we try at Grey is to leave the place in a better place than what it was, and I think that I have managed to achieve that in the five years that I have been here.”

South Africa is on the verge of having two men’s singles players in the world top 100 for quite some time, with Kevin Anderson, ranked number 8 in the world and Lloyd Harris ranked at 112th at the moment.

Henning added that the pair serve a real inspiration for them and he wants to follow in their footsteps.

“The more senior guys are really a great inspiration for me. Kevin Anderson is in the top 10 in the world, and Lloyd Harris is almost in the top 100. He was with me while we played in the Davis Cup team this weekend. I learned a lot from the team and it was a great experience for me.

“Kevin took the collegiate route and that is something that I want to do as well.”

Henning will actually be going the collegiate route from next year as soon as he has completed matric at Grey. Henning just has to complete his final exams before bidding the schools and South Africa farewell for the next four years.

He will be attending the University of Georgia in the USA on a full scholarship of four years.

“It is a great programme over there, and in my opinion it one of the best tennis programmes over in America. It is a great privilege for me to go there next year.”

While the Varsity only starts later in the year in the USA, Henning will be heading over in January already.

Recently in Henning cleaned up the Junior Tennis Awards, by receiving no less than four awards. Henning was named as the Junior Players Player of the Year, Junior Player of the Year, Best Boys Player of the Year and he received the President’s Award. – MORGAN PIEK