For the first time in South African tennis history, a Tennis South Africa (TSA) beach tennis team will be travelling this week to Russia to represent the Federation at the ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championships.
The ITF Beach Tennis World Team Championships is taking place in the Russian capital Moscow at The National Tennis Centre from 7 to 12 August 2018. The SA Team will be departing on Friday 3 August – in order to give the themselves two days to practice and acclimatize to the conditions of the venue ahead of the Championships.
South Africa has been awarded a wild card into the main draw of the event by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The wild card was awarded to South Africa based on the progress made over the last 12 months in terms of TSA promoting beach tennis in the country since the local launch of the sport in March.
The team travelling to Russia is;
• Frans Ledwaba
• Tucker Vorster
• Ryan Brookshaw
• Bronwyn Davidson
• Lorraine Morifi
• Helga Jeske
Helga Jeske has replaced Caitlyn Klaassen, who is ill and was forced to withdraw. The team manager will be Iain Smith.
The format for the Championships is a 24 main draw played on a knock out basis. However, it follows a Monrad format, so round losers play off to final positions. The Championship is a mixed competition in which nations compete against each other as a team. Each team is comprised of two men and two women, with ties consisting of a men’s doubles, women’s doubles and a mixed doubles match.
Defending champions Italy head the 24 strong nation field – which comprises of Aruba, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Venezuela and hosts Russia. There are 36 nations currently playing beach tennis globally and South Africa has become the 37th.
In order to assist with the further development of beach tennis in South Africa, a coaching seminar was recently held at Clubview Tennis Club – with 26 coaches and players in attendance. The seminar was conducted by Canadian, Marie-Pier Huet, a professional beach tennis player – who is currently on a sabbatical in Cape Town.
Iain Smith, the TSA Beach Tennis manager commented: “The team has been putting in an unbelievable amount of effort in terms of practicing during mornings, evenings and weekends. It is very sad that Caitlyn had to withdraw due to illness and we wish her a speedy recovery. A special word of thanks to Marie-Pier Huet for her efforts, as the sessions with her have given the team a lot of confidence. Our partners, Topspin who have provided the clothing and equipment for the team. Silica Sand our preferred sand supplier have been fantastic in their support in launching beach tennis and Pococks for making their facility available to the team for practice. We look forward to bringing back a lot of experience and then looking to roll out beach tennis in as many communities as possible – with a focus on junior players being key.”
Richard Glover, CEO of TSA concluded: “This is an exciting moment for beach tennis in South Africa and is a statement of our intent to grow the format locally. It is a massive step into the unknown for our players and it will be fascinating to see how they perform against the best beach tennis players on the planet.”