SA TOP JUNIORS SET FOR THEIR FIRST WORLD TEAM CUP
South Africa's top wheelchair tennis juniors Alwande Skhosana from Kwa-Zulu Natal and Ian Snyman from Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West Province jet off to Japan on Friday.
The two 15-year-olds will take part in the BNP Paribus World Team Cup to be contested in Tokyo from 23-28 May after South Africa was awarded the wild card for the junior event. This marks the fourth time South Africa competes in the junior event and the first time since 2013.
World number three Skhosana recently participated in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Masters in Tarbes, France and is chuffed to have another golden opportunity to gain experience on the international stage.
"I can't wait to play for my country again and with my teammate Ian, I am very confident we are going to do well in Tokyo," said Skhosana.
Snyman, the world number thirteen, will make his international debut in Japan and says this trip will be the highlight of his career.
"I cannot believe that I have been chosen to represent South Africa at such a huge event, never mind the opportunity to play oversees for the first time," commented Snyman.
"When I took up wheelchair tennis I never thought I will ever get to compete abroad. I look forward to the world team cup and partnering with my close friend Alwande. This is going to be challenging but an exciting opportunity for both of us."
More than 50 teams from 29 nations are set to contest the 2016 BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Tokyo.
"We are really pleased to see our top ranked juniors compete in this world-class event and excited to see how they measure up against a top international field," said Wheelchair Tennis South Africa General Manager Karen Losch.
"We expect the team will do very well. Alwande and Ian combine well, they have been playing really well lately and with all the experience Alwande gained in France, we are hoping for some good results."
Meanwhile Bongani Dlamini and Danny Mohlamonyane are en route to Lizuka in Japan, where world number three Lucas Sithole starts his title defence in the Japan Open today. Sithole defeated former world number one David Wagner from the United States in three sets 1-6 6-4 6-4 last year.
Sithole, Dlamini and Mohlamonyane will join forces for Mzansi in the Quads Division at the 2016 BNP Paribas World Team Cup. The SA quads team showed good form at last year's event, eliminating Great Britain 3-0 on the opening day of the event but they went down to Israel and Italy. The team clinched fifth position overall, though, with a decisive 2-1 over Canada in the 5/6th place play-off.