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Three world number one players set for South Africa

Wheelchair Tennis in South Africa was given a major boost today with the news that some of the world’s top wheelchair tennis players including three world number one players had confirmed their entry into two major tournament to be hosted in the country next month.

The Airports Company South Africa sponsored Gauteng Open (3-7April) and SA Open (9-13 April) will have players representing thirteen countries including South Africa participating.

Confirmed for the men’s draw is the world’s top player, Shingo Kunieda of Japan. The 29 year old Japanese right handed star has an impressive 377-52 win loss record and won the Australian Open in Melbourne earlier this year. Kunieda is also the reigning NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters title holder and won Gold at the London Paralympics.

Joining Kunieda in the draw will be three other top 10 world ranked players in Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina (5), Masters runner up Gordon Reid of Great Britain (8) and French star Michael Jeremiasz (9). From a South African point of view, Evans Maripa and Leon Els both ranked in the world top 100 are the country’s biggest hopes.

In the woman’s draw, four top ten players have confirmed their entry including the world’s number one player Aniek van Koot of Netherlands who recently took over the top spot when legendary longstanding world champion, Esther Vergeer also from Netherlands announced her retirement from the game. Van Koot is the reigning Australian Open and NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion and won silver at the London Paralympics losing to Vergeer in the final. Other top ten entries are world number four, Jiske Griffion (Netherlands), number six Lucy Shuker (Great Britain) and South African ace KG Montjane and number ten.

In the Quads Division world number one, David Wagner of the USA has confirmed his entry with South Africa’s Lucas Sithole ranked number 7 likely to be Wagner’s strongest opposition. Canadian Sarah Hunter ranked one spot out of the top ten is also travelling to South Africa.

The Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open (Grade 1) will be played in Benoni and the Gauteng East Tennis Complex with the Airports Company South Africa SA Open (Super Series) being played at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg. Both tournaments form part of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

Published by The BLD Group