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- Pace bounces back with strong finish in Thailand
- Blitzboks take it easy before Las Vegas Sevens
- Maripa bags first title of the year in Bolton
- England wrap up Summer Series with 2-0 win against SA
- Five more Meet records at SA Grand Prix
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Wheelchair tennis aces back in SA for big clashes
- Updated: April 16, 2014
Two of our leading wheelchair tennis players, Kgothatso KG Montjane and Evans Maripa, have arrived back in the country feeling extremely motivated after good performances on the recent USA wheelchair tennis tournament swing.
And 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 23-27 April.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 ACSA 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 semi-final 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.
A double amputee as a result of a birth defect, Maripa was inspired by Montjane to take up wheelchair tennis, and within two years, 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.
Pictures: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images