Johannesburg, South Africa – The grand old lady of South African tennis, Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in the City of Joburg is gearing herself up for a bumper week of tennis.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa are just three days away from hosting the Airports Company South Africa, SA Open, the country’s premier wheelchair tennis event which forms part of the international circuit. The tournament will be held from 21 – 25 April 2012. This Grade 1 tour event has attracted a top entry from overseas and will allow all the local players an opportunity of gaining all important world ranking points and a chance of qualifying for the London Paralympics in August.
Already confirmed as entered are South African’s top ranked men and women’s players Lucas Sithole (world ranked 9 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 4, Marjolein Buis and world number 9, 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 Quad’s, Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain is ranked no 4 and Maro Innocenti of Italy, ranked no 10 join Lucas Sithole all ranked in the world’s top 10.
“Ellis Park is a truly historic venue and will be a fitting wheelchair friendly host for the tournament” said Tournament Director Holger Losch. “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 weeks tennis in the City of Gold. “
The tournament will have a Men’s, Women’s, Quads and Junior division each comprising of a singles and doubles draw. The tournament draw takes place on Friday at 18h00 at the Reef Hotel in Joburg with the opening round starting at 09h00 on Saturday morning. Round two is scheduled for Sunday, the quarter finals for Monday, semi-finals on Tuesday and the finals on Wednesday.