Marsh shows form in Preston, UK
Wheelchair Tennis SA, with the assistance of the game sponsor, Airports Company South Africa, sent four up and coming players to compete in the Northwest Challenge in Preston, Great Britain from 13-16 February 2014.
The players were sent to the UK to gain experience, improve their world ranking, and better their game. Leon Els together with compatriot Marshall Marsh rose to the challenge and rolled away as runners up in the men's doubles event. They defeated the British pair of Alexander Jewitt and Tony Knappett 6.-3, 7-6 in the semi-finals.
In the singles event, Eastern Cape player Marshall Marsh caused the first upset of the tournament by defeating Paul Stewart (GBR) 6-3,6-3 in the first round. Marsh then took on the top seed and world no.30 Thomas Vinatier (FRA) in the quarter finals, where despite accurate shots and high paced mobility, Marsh lost a closely contested three set match 6-7, 6-4, 1-6.
In the women's division 17 year old Thando Hlatswayo drew the experienced 41 year old Charlotte Famin of France in her first round. Hlatshwayo, ranked 20 spots behind Famin, started tentatively, and could not match the skill and experience of Famin. Hlatshwayo however regained her composure, and finished in the semi finals of the women's consolation singles event.
Bongani Dlamini, the SA no 2 ranked behind Lucas Sithole, had a comfortable start to the event defeating Laura Swetman (GBR) in the quarter-finals, but found top seed Anthony Cotteril (GBR) 6-3, 6-1 too consistent.
The four South African players and coach Hennie de Klerk will now be travelling to Bolton for the Bolton Arena Indoor Wheelchair Tournament taking place 19-22 February 2014. Coach Hennie de Klerk said "Apart from the general glitches with chairs and the cold weather, the players are doing very well and I am pleased to see their growth. Experience on the international circuit is important for growing their personal games, showcasing their strengths and weaknesses. Emotionally and mentally it is important to gain the exposure and experience to become mentally fit and prepared."
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has for the 10 years been the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed more than R25-million to date and has committed to a continued growth in the sport, helping the athletes to gain experience on the International circuit and to qualify and participate in the 2016 Paralympic games.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa through the continued sponsorship from Airports Company South Africa hosts:
ü Six International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments,
ü Four Regional Rising Stars Camp,
ü Three National Tournaments/Top Performers Camps,
ü The Africa International Tennis Federation (ITF)/Johann Cruyff Junior Camp and
ü An opportunity for top performers to strut their stuff overseas
ü Grassroot programmes at no less than 50 community centres and schools across South Africa