Six Pretoria residents to fight it out at the Wheelchair Tennis Tournament
Tuesday, 05 July, 2011. Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s (WTSA) Airports Company South Africa Pretoria Open, a tournament that is host to five countries, including the Netherlands, Great Britain, Austria, Zimbabwe and South Africa, kicked off to an exciting start with some great match play.
Of the 52 entered players, six are Pretoria residents, all of whom are determined to keep the titles on home turf; the South African champions have three remaining tournament days to keep this aspiration alive. The tournament – a futures grade – will see athletes compete across four divisions: men’s, women’s, quad’s and junior’s, and comes hot off the heels of the Airports Company South Africa Polokwane Open held last week. All but one of the titles were won by South Africans with the runner up in the men’s division, Sydwell Mathonsi playing to redeem himself after a 1-6 7-6 loss to a Japanese competitor last week.
In the men’s division the international player to watch out for is Kevin Simpson from Great Britain who is ranked No.47 on the international ladder. South African up and coming Evans Maripa, No.69 on the rankings is not to be underestimated – it’s said that his talent is remarkable and his determination is single-minded. In the women’s draw, Celia du Toit and Rose van der Meer, SA’s No.2 and No.3 respectively and both Pretoria residents, will more than likely vie for the title.
WTSA tournament director and coach, Holger Losch says, “It is great to have the international players here. Not only has it given us a chance to put our tournaments on the map, but more importantly, it has given our players the much needed international game practise they require as they prepare for the 2012 Paralympics.”
National and international tournaments are made possible by WTSA sponsor Airports Company South Africa, which has contributed no less than R14-million to the sport since 2005. Airports Company South Africa, Group Manager Communications, Solomon Makgale says, “The Polokwane Open yielded great results for our players with only one title – the men’s division – going to an international contender. Congratulations to all the players: if you won or lost you did us proud! We look forward to a repeat performance in Pretoria.” The tournament will be held at the Rietondale Tennis Club, corner of Van der Merwe and Soutpansburg road, Rietondale, Pretoria. “The South African players deserve support; join us for some riveting tennis against some of the world’s best. Entrance is free and nothing makes for a more exciting day out! The games starts at 9am and finish by 4pm. See you there,” concluded Losch.