Balls of Steel

… yip, that’s what you gotta have if you want to stand a chance of beating the rest of the field in this 10-point tiebreak tournament beween the top dogs of Gardens’ talented pool of mens players. The tournament, which takes plays every couple of weeks or so, consists of a 2-group round robin phase, followed by semis, a final and a lekker boerie.

All matches are decided by a single 10-point tiebreak only, so it’s all about having that elusive quality: big match temperament. Breathe in. Breathe out. And ask yourself one question: what would Federer do?

If you feel like taking part in the next one, drop Eckhard a mail at

To wet your appetite, here’s a few clips of some of the moments that might come close to what you’ll experience at Balls of Steel.

The art of saving matchpoints


World's most amazing tennis trick shots

Current Balls of Steel Holder:

Chairman captures maiden Balls of Steel crown

Twelve men rocked up to test their big match temperaments in the toughest arena of all: the 12th installment of the Gardens Balls of Steel Challenge. This challenge was launched a couple of years ago to help our male players develop nerves of steel on tight points and this episode was a nail-biting affair once again.

In the group stages, Ryno Uys blazed his way through Group Becker, topping the leaderboard, followed by Christopher Every, who displayed some old school serve and volleying to finish in second place. In Group Stich, Eckhard Cloete went through undefeated, followed by Ken Sepel, who managed to pip Simon Schreuder on points for second spot.

In the first semifinal, Ken went to a 7-0 lead, before Ryno went on the rampage with a borrowed racquet after snapping both his racquets’ strings. However, Ken held his nerve to take it 10-7 in the end. In the second semi, Eckhard scraped past Christoper in a close-fought match, 10-8.

In a tight final, Ken withstood a late comeback to show why the coveted Balls of Steel belongs in his bag. In gusty conditions, the Gardens chairman was the more determined, – finishing well at the net to take a 9-6 lead, before Eckhard fought back to level things at 9-9. Serving in the wind was tough though, and at 9-10 down, Eckhard netted twice on his serve to hand Ken the trophy on a platter.

With his win, Ken became the 12th holder of the Balls of Steel. Feel free to ask him if you can touch it. However, if you want to hold onto them for longer, look out for the next Challenge which should take place early in the new year…


 Ken Sepel grinning widely after winning his first BOS title


Thomas Pringle, a former champion, giving Ken some pointers on handling the weight of the prestigious balls

Past Balls of Steel Holders:

Balls of Steel XI: Jean Jooste
Balls of Steel X: Erick Zulch
Balls of Steel IX: Ren Dunster
Balls of Steel VIII: Meyer Lambrecht
Balls of Steel VII: Jens Herf
Balls of Steel VI: Eckhard Cloete
Balls of Steel V: Willem Grobler
Balls of Steel IV: Paul Hartwig
Balls of Steel III: Thomas Pringle
Balls of Steel II: Paul Hartwig
Balls of Steel I: Paul Hartwig