MARISKA VENTER SETS SIGHTS ON EUROPEAN TOUR
The world is an oyster for budding wheelchair tennis ace Mariska Venter. The former world number 1 junior girl will jet off to Europe this week on Tuesday to take part in four major international wheelchair tennis tournaments.
The 21-year-old from Ermelo in Mpumalanga enjoyed a superb 2017 clinching a women singles title in Lithuanian and reaching the doubles final in the same event.
After finishing as a runner-up for four successive years at Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Soweto, Venter staged an aggressive game to bag two golds at the Soweto Open last year before clinching a doubles title at the Memorial Jens Vanherck in Belgium.
Venter is now aiming for another milestone ahead of the European tour and hopes to break back into the top 27 in the world ranking.
Venter will begin her campaign in Europe at the Preston Indoor tournament, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Level 3 event starting from February 15-18 in Preston, Great Britain.
The world number 33 will move on to Bolton to join South Africa’s leading men’s player Evans Maripa at the Bolton Indoor, an ITF level 2 tournament from February 20-24 also in Britain.
Venter lost in the first round at the Bolton Indoor in 2016 falling to Sarah Calati of Australia 4-6 2-6 and is aiming to reach the semi-final round this year.
Venter will then move on to represent the country in the Biel-Bienne tournament, an ITF level 3 event to be staged in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland from March 8-11.
The 21-year-old will then return to Italy to improve upon her 2016 semi-final finish at the Alpi Del Mare tournament, also an ITF level 3 event part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour to take place from March 15-18 in Cuneo.
"I am so excited and ready for this tour, I have worked so hard during my off season and I am ready to start my year off with a bang,” commented Venter.