SOUTH AFRICAN SUPER STARS BACK FOR MAJOR WHEELCHAIR TENNIS TOURNAMENTS
South Africa's top wheelchair tennis players, Kgothatso 'KG' Montjane and Evans Maripa have arrived back in the country feeling motivated after good performances on the recent USA wheelchair tennis tournament swing. Both are back to prepare for two important international tournaments on home soil.
The first is the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open, to be played at the Gauteng East Tennis Centre at Benoni Lake from April 23 to 27. It is a grade one event, and one of only 13 such tournaments in the world.
Top international players are expected to participate, in preparation for the even more prestigious Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park from April 29 to May 3. The Airports Company South Africa SA Open has Super Series status and is one of only six such tournaments. The others are played in Australia, France, Japan, Britain and the United States.
Montjane, South Africa's number one and world number seven female wheelchair player, is fresh from her triumph in the Cajun Classic Wheelchair tournament in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she and her British partner Jordan Whiley won the women's doubles title, beating Sabine Ellerbrock and Lucy Shuker 7-6, 3-6, 11-9. Montjane and Whiley, who are becoming a very potent force in women's doubles, went on to win the title in Pensacola, Florida, where they had walkovers in the semifinal and the final.
She will be going all out to impose herself on both tournaments and make people aware of the importance of wheelchair tennis.
"I want to encourage other people with disabilities to play wheelchair tennis because it's given me a new life and a healthy sense of well-being. You don't have to be a champion to play wheelchair tennis. It shows people with disabilities that we can be active and lead good lives."
Maripa, South Africa men's number one has also been competing on the international circuit and is eager to do well in Benoni and Johannesburg. Maripa, who is a double amputee as a result of a birth defect, was inspired by Montjane to take up wheelchair tennis, and within two years, he won gold at the Asia Pacific Youth Para Games in Tokyo.
Top players from around the world will be coming to South Africa for the two tournaments and the standard of play is expected to be very high.