Wheelchair Tennis World Cup for SA
2 March 2011
South Africa will become the first African country to host the wheelchair tennis World Team Cup when the 27th edition of the competition, which falls under the auspices of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), takes place at the University of Pretoria in April.
"This is the ITF's flagship wheelchair tennis team event and it is an honour for us to be given the rights to host it," tournament director Holger Losch of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) said in a statement on Tuesday.
"With all the recent positive publicity, South Africa has become a popular destination, and we are expecting the best players in the world to come to this tournament."
Tournament dates and categories
The event runs from 25 April to 1 May and includes the Men's World Group I and World Group II, Women's World Group, plus Quad and Junior categories.
There will be 16 countries participating in each of the World Groups, and eight countries in the Quad and Junior events.
This World Team Cup will also be the last to be staged in the current format, with the Men's World Group I and World Group II, and Women's World Group all being reduced from 16 teams to 12 teams in 2012 with the introduction of regional qualifying.
With so much at stake, all country's will have plenty to play for to secure their positions in next year's tournament.
With the altitude a major factor in Pretoria, it will be essential for all players to acclimatise. They'll have a good opportunity to do that a week before the World Team Cup when an additional ITF wheelchair tennis event, the Airports Company South Africa South African Open, takes place at Sun City.
South African participation
South Africa will take part in all four events of the World Team Cup, having qualified for the Men's World Group II, and having received a wild card into the other three categories.
Since its inception wheelchair tennis has been one of the fastest-growing wheelchair sports in the world, primarily because it integrates easily with the able-bodied game.
Over the last few years, Wheelchair Tennis South Africa has hosted an impressive list of international tournaments, and 2011 will see six international events and a signature event – a first for Africa – the World Team Cup.
WTSA currently celebrates 80 players on the world ranking, more than any other nation and a true accomplishment for any country with such a young team.
Kgothatso Montjane is ranked 17th in the women's singles, while Lucas Sithole is ranked 14th in the world in the men's quads singles.
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