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South Africa to host Super Series and Grade 1 wheelchair tennis tournaments

Wheelchair tennis has taken off globally and South Africa is firmly planted on the international map of the sport. In April Wheelchair Tennis South Africa will play host to two of the most important tournaments on the wheelchair tennis calendar – the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open and the Airports Company South Africa SA Open.

The ACSA Gauteng Open is one of the 13 Grade 1 events played internationally during the year and will be staged in Benoni from April 3 to 7.

That tournament, important as it is in its own right, can be viewed as a warm-up for the main event – the Airports Company South African SA Open, which is a Super Series event, one of only six that takes place globally during the year. The ACSA SA Open will be played at Ellis Park from April 9 to 13. This will be the first time a Super Series tournament will be staged on the African continent. The other five are played in Australia, Japan, France, Britain and the USA.

The Britain Open is the only other Super Series event where a Grade 1 tournament is hosted either before or after the event. The others do not even have a Grade 2 or Grade 3 tournament as a warm-up event, so the fact that South Africa will be hosting two significant tournaments in quick succession should make it most attractive for top-ranked international players to participate.

“Wheelchair Tennis SA are delighted that our ACSA SA Open has been upgraded to a Super Series event. This gives our players a golden opportunity to take on the world best in their own backyard, and believe our players are now reaching the maturity and rankings where they could even compete for the titles in at least 2 of the divisions” said Karen Losch, General Manager of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa.

Both events will have men’s and ladies draws, quads and junior events (singles and doubles). The men’s singles will comprise of a 32 draw and men’s doubles a 16 draw. The women’s singles will be a 24 draw and doubles a 12 draw. The junior and quad singles will be 16 draws and doubles an eight draw.

The entries may only close on March 6 for both events but a host of leading players have already confirmed their participation for both tournaments. Maikel Scheffers from The Netherlands is the No 3 singles player in the world and is ranked No 9 in doubles. He reached the quarterfinals of this year’s Australian Open and the semi-finals of the doubles with Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina. Scheffers will play in the men’s draw.

American David Wagner is the No 1 quad singles player in the world and is ranked No 2 in doubles. The 38-year-old won the quad section of the Australian Open.

Marjolein Buis, also from The Netherlands, will take her place in the women’s draw. The 25-year-old is ranked World No 5 in singles and reached the semis of the Australian Open and the final of the doubles with Lucy Shuker of Great Britain.

Solomon Makgale, Spokesperson for Airports Company South Africa said “We are proud to present two world class Wheelchair Tennis events that will not only showcase and assist to develop our exceptional talent, but will bring the world best players to our country.” Makgale added, “We look forward to hosting one of the premier events on the tour, and providing players with a memorable experience, and hunger to return.

Published by The BLD Group