SA’s Wheelchair Tennis Aces off to the Masters
Johannesburg, South Africa. – Lucas Sithole and Kgothatso Montjane will be looking to cap one of their most memorable tennis years with a good showing at the year-end Wheelchair Tennis Masters. The 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters will be held on 5-11 November in Mission Viejo, Southern California. USA alongside the 2013 ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters. Through the sponsorship from Airports Company South Africa these players will be able to travel and compete in this event.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters is the most coveted trophy on the NEC tour as only the top 8 men and women, and top 4 quads in the world are invited to participate. Kgothatso Montjane, currently ranked world no.6 in the women's open division, was the first African player to qualify and participate at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters and Invacare Doubles Masters in November 2012. She has once again qualified to play in both the singles and doubles masters for the second consecutive year. To date she has won an impressive 33 titles, played in two Paralympics, and beaten all of the top 10 players in the world. After the US Open Montjane has taken time off travelling, to work on her game. She is rested, focused and determined to prove she should be in the top 4 players in the world.
After defeating David Wagner, world no 1, in the finals of the recent US Open Grand Slam Lucas Sithole cemented his invitation to this event. Coincidentally, Wagner is the defending champion at the masters and all hopes are it will be for another David and Lucas battle for the coveted title. Sithole is currently no. 2 and a victory might see the gap between them narrowing majorly.
Going into the event Sithole also has a tremendous 37 career titles behind his name, has represented South Africa at the 2012 Paralympics; was the first African to win the British Open and a singles event at a Grand Slam, and has beaten all top 10 players in the world this year including David Wagner, world no 1, four times in 6 months.
Lucas Sithole is also the first disabled athlete to be nominated in the SA Sports Awards Sport Star of the Year 2013 category. This award is determined by public support and voting closes 17 November 2013. Please VOTE and show your support for Lucas Sithole by dialing *120*8883# and choose option 5-Lucas Sithole.
WTSA's Director and Coach Holger Losch said: "We are extremely proud of KG and Lucas and wish them all the best at the upcoming Masters events. KG and Lucas are extremely talented athletes who is not only committed, but shows constant dedication, self discipline and determination. We are elated with their performances this year and we know they love playing the game."
The NEC Masters Tournament
This tournament specifically is played in a round robin format, akin to the ATP World Tour Finals and WTA Championships and guarantees a player must face at least four of the top eight players in the world to gain the title.
The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters was initiated in 1994 to honour the top players who have shown dedication and professionalism to the sport, and it has fast became the most coveted trophy amongst the top players. At the same time it is an opportunity to show the general public and media that wheelchair tennis played at its highest level is not only challenging and dynamic, but also an exciting sport to watch.
Year – Men, Women, Quads
2012 – Shingo Kunieda (JPN) Jiske Griffioen (NED) David Wagner (USA)
2011 – Stephane Houdet (FRA) Esther Vergeer (NED) Noam Gershony (ISR)
2010 – Stefan Olsson (SWE) Esther Vergeer (NED) Peter Norfolk (GBR)
2009 – Maikel Scheffers (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED) Peter Norfolk (GBR)
2008 – Stefan Olsson (SWE) Esther Vergeer (NED) David Wagner (USA)
2007 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED) David Wagner (USA)
2006 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED) Peter Norfolk (GBR)
2005 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED) David Wagner (USA)
2004 – David Hall (AUS) Esther Vergeer (NED) David Wagner (USA)
2003 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED)
2002 – David Hall (AUS) Esther Vergeer (NED)
2001 – Ricky Molier (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED)
2000 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED)
1999 – Robin Ammerlaan (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED)
1998 – Ricky Molier (NED) Esther Vergeer (NED)
1997 – Kai Schrameyer (GER) Maaike Smit (NED)
1996 – Stephen Welch (USA) Chantal Vandierendonck (NED)
1995 – Laurent Giammartini (FRA) Monique Kalkman (NED)
1994 – Randy Snow (USA) Monique Kalkman (NED)
Good luck KG and Lucas let's add RSA to the list of winning nations.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
Airports Company South Africa is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa. The company is committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme and through this partnership we wish to produce more champions like Lucas and Kgothatso ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games. Airports Company South Africa would like to encourage more young people to be inspired by Lucas's and Kgothatso's achievement and get involved in the sport.