Ellis Park set for top wheelchair tennis

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19 April 2012

Historically South Africa's premier tennis venue, Johannesburg's Ellis Park Tennis Stadium is gearing up for a bumper week of wheelchair tennis, featuring some of the world's leading players.

The Acsa South African Open, the country's premier wheelchair tennis event, which forms part of the international circuit, takes place at Ellis Park from 21 to 25 April.

A grade one tour event, it has attracted a top entry from overseas and will allow local players an opportunity of gaining all important world ranking points, and a chance of qualifying for the London Paralympics in August.

'A truly historic venue'

"Ellis Park is a truly historic venue and will be a fitting wheelchair-friendly host for the tournament," tournament director Holger Losch said in a statement.

"The venue has played host to top ATP, WTA and ITF events, including Davis and Fed Cup, and now that our Acsa SA Open is being played at Ellis Park we can honestly say this 'grand old lady' has hosted the best of all tennis events."

Losch continued by saying that preparations were well on track to host a truly memorable tournament. "We have been hard at work in making sure Ellis Park will be a warm and hospitable host. The courts are in good shape and the facilities have been well adapted for the players.

"After successfully hosting the World Wheelchair Tennis Championships last year, we feel in tune to host a great week's tennis in the City of Gold."

Leading South Africans

Already confirmed as entered are South African's top ranked men and women's players Lucas Sithole (world number nine in the Quads Division) and Kgothatso Montjane (world ranked 10 in the Women's Division).

They will be joined by international stars representing Australia, Great Britain, Italy, Scotland, Japan, Poland, Sri Lanka, Germany, Netherlands, France, Brazil, China, Malaysia and Israel.

Notable players that have entered include world number four Marjolein Buis and world number nine Sharon Walraven, both of the Netherlands, in the women's division. In the men's division there will be three players ranked in the top 20 of the world, namely Scotland's Gordon Reid (12), Ben Weekes of Australia (15) and Japanese star Yoshinobu Fujimoto (17).

In the Quads, Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain is ranked number four and Maro Innocenti of Italy, ranked tenth, join Lucas Sithole in the battle for the title.


The tournament will have men's, women's, quads and junior divisions, with each made up of singles and doubles events.

The tournament draw takes place on Friday at 18:00 at the Reef Hotel in Johannesburg, with the opening round starting at 09:00 on Saturday morning.

Round two is scheduled for Sunday, the quarter finals for Monday, semi-finals on Tuesday and the finals on Wednesday.

SAinfo reporter

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South African number one Lucas Sithole is ranked ninth in the world in the quad division of wheelchair tennis (Photo: University of Pretoria)

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