SA wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole.
JOHANNESBURG – The world’s best wheelchair tennis players have arrived in Johannesburg for the South African Open starting at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium on Monday.
The SA Open forms part of the International Tennis Federation’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and is classified as one of only six Super Series events held worldwide.
Many top stars like men’s world number one and defending champion Stephane Houdet from France have returned to their favourite haunt and followed the same rituals that served them well in the past. The three times SA Open Champion arrived in South Africa on Saturday and enjoyed an exhibition match with the Davis Cup aces at Irene Country Club in Centurion prior to their doubles rubber.
Other notable stars who arrived this weekend are world number two Joachim Gerard from Belgium, 2016 Paralympics Champion Gordon Reid from Britain, 2015 SA Open Champion Nicolas Peifer from France, world number six Alfie Hewett from Britain and Stefan Olsson from Sweden.
Seven of the top-10 ranked women who will be among those contesting the second Super Series of the year are also in Mzansi and are enjoying their preparation for the wheelchair tennis’ showpiece from Monday to Friday. The Netherlands queens – world numbers three, four and five – Diede de Groot, Marjolein Buis and Aniek van Koot jetted into the country on Friday while their biggest rival, Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock, landed on Saturday.
But the country’s eyes will be on South Africa’s leading aces Lucas Sithole (Quad), KG Montjane (Women) and Evans Maripa (Men), who are South Africa’s hope in the five-day event and will run amok to keep the crown at home.