LUCAS SITHOLE READY TO RECLAIM TOP 4 SPOT
South African wheelchair tennis quad ace Lucas Sithole said on Monday that he is confident he will return to the top of the world tennis rankings ahead of the Korea Open and the Japan Open Super Series tournament starting next week.
The former world number four has been struggling due to a tear in his stump and has not won a singles title since the 2017 Joburg Open in Soweto.
Sithole said he has recovered and now looks forward to working his way up into the top four of the international rankings.
“I have been working very hard with my coach Holger Losch for a few weeks and I feel very confident going to Asia to reclaim my top four position,” the former world number four, now ranked 5, said.
“All I need to do is to apply all that we have been working on, believe in myself and in my game.
“I know that if I continue doing what I’m doing so far, believing in myself, I know I’m going to get to the top again.”
The triple-amputee from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal will jet-off this Saturday to Korea Republic for the Korea Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Level 1 event starting from May 8-12 in Seoul.
The 31-year-old will then move on to the Japan Open, an ITF Super Series tournament from May 14-19 in Iizuka City, Japan.
Both events are sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and form part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
Sithole disposed of his biggest rival American world number 1 David Wagner to bag the Japan Open singles title in 2014 but has since reached the semi-final round losing to Australian world number 2 Dylan Alcott in 2015 and 2016 then was denied another chance at a title by Wagner in 2017.
Sithole’s Coach Holger Losch believes the two-time Grand Slam champion has prepared well and will provide stiff competition for his rivals.
“Lucas is fully fit and ready for Korea and Japan,” said Losch.
“He has been working real hard the past few weeks and is ready to break back into the top four,” he added. It is always amazing working with such a legend, training hard and seeing him playing to his potential.