WHEELCHAIR TENNIS STAR ESTHER VERGEER CELEBRATES 10 YEARS UNBEATEN

Johannesburg, South Africa – Dutch wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer is celebrating ten years without a defeat on the international wheelchair tennis circuit today. Vergeer, 31 years old from Woerden, has won 470 consecutive matches since she was defeated by Australian Daniele di Toro in Sydney on 30 January 2003.

Esther Vergeer, the most successful wheelchair tennis player in history who owns one of the longest winning streaks ever in world sport jets into South Africa for coaching clinics as Cruyff Foundation ambassador.
Pictures Credit: Reg Caldecott


Vergeer is currently taking part in a Johann Cruyff Foundation trip to South Africa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Cruyff Foundation’s involvement in the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund. The week-long trip will include visits to ongoing projects in Elaansdorn and Johannesburg. South Africa was one of the first countries to be supported by the Development Fund.

Vergeer started to play wheelchair tennis at the age of 12 after surgery on her spinal cord went wrong. A former national standard wheelchair basketball player, she eventually made the decision to pursue tennis instead, and played her first tournament in 1994. Vergeer became world No. 1 for the first time in 1999 and has gone on to dominate the sport winning 169 titles. She has been named ITF Wheelchair World Champion for the last 13 years.

In the last 10 years Vergeer has won a total of 120 successive tournaments, beaten 73 different opponents, won 95 matches 60 60 and dropped only 18 sets of tennis. She has faced only one match point – against fellow Dutchwoman Korie Homan in the women’s gold medal match at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Only one professional athlete in sporting history is known to have a longer winning streak than Vergeer. Pakistan squash player Jahangir Khan won 555 consecutive matches, although he was only undefeated for five-and-a-half years (1981-86).

Vergeer said: “I am impressed I got this far. I sometimes still cannot believe that in all these years I did not have a breakdown. I am proud and I am going to celebrate. I am pleased to link it in with visiting South Africa to celebrate the ten years of the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund with the Cruyff Foundation.”

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Esther Vergeer is a great athlete and an even better ambassador for wheelchair tennis. Her skill and personality have helped to lift the profile of the sport around the world. This remarkable achievement is a testament to all the hard work she has put in throughout her career.”

Carole Thate, Director of the Cruyff Foundation, said: “Esther Vergeer is a role model not only as an athlete, but also in setting up her own Foundation so that she can give back to society. In collaboration with the Johan Cruyff Foundation, she has established the project ‘From Sport day to Sport club’ to help physically disabled children get acquainted with sport through sports days at schools.”

The Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund was set up in 2002 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of wheelchair tennis. The Fund aims to establish sustainable wheelchair tennis programmes in developing nations through the provision of tennis equipment and technical expertise and the identification of local partners who will take the programme to self-supporting levels. The Johan Cruyff Foundation began financing the Development Fund in 2003 and celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.


TENNIS PLAYERS CHASE R1-MILLION AS SOWETO OPEN RETURNS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Professional tennis will return to the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Soweto in April where a group of men and women will battle it out for a share of R1-million in prize money.
The men will take to the court in the Soweto Open from April 29 to May 4 while the women’s tournament will be played from May 6 to 11, Tennis South Africa (TSA) has announced.

Both tournaments have been sanctioned by the respective men’s and women’s international governing bodies – the ATP Tour, the ITF as well as the WTA Tour – and will carry international ranking points.
The tournament was launched in 2009 and continued for three years before financial restructuring by the City of Joburg, who was the chief sponsor, during the tough economic climate resulted in its decision not to sponsor the event in 2012.

TSA did not have sufficient time to find a new sponsor and give the necessary guarantees to the ATP and ITF tours so it was forced to shelve last year’s event. However, TSA approached the Department of Sport and Recreation and Minister Fikile Mbalula came out in full support of re-establishing the two tournaments.

TSA President, Wire Zondi applauded the decision by government to assist in staging of the Soweto Open. “I am very grateful to the Hon. Minister and his department for investing into the Soweto Open and holding hands with TSA in their vision for the growth and development of the game in Soweto” said Zondi. “The Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex has been a resounding success, hosted many international events and been the breeding ground for a lot of talented tennis players. The recipe of successful tennis development has been proven through the TSA projects in Soweto at the Complex and the hosting of the Soweto Open can only compliment these efforts.”

In previous years the two tournaments were played concurrently but this time the decision was taken to separate the events. The reason for this is twofold. It gives TSA the opportunity to showcase tennis over two weeks and also falls in line with the government’s stance to highlight women’s sport.

This year is also the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the WTA Tour and that will be celebrated with a separate tournament. The later week will help the South African women’s Fed Cup team, who will be playing their Euro/Africa Group round robin tournament on clay in Ulcinj, Montenegro from April 17 to 20 April, get extra time to help them reacclimatise to hard courts at altitude.

“The importance of this tournament for future of South African tennis cannot be overstressed,” said TSA Chief Executive Ian Smith. “Firstly it makes the sport accessible to members of our population who do get to see professional tennis live on a regular basis, and secondly it gives South African players the opportunity to accumulate valuable ranking points without having to spend thousands of rands travelling abroad.
“I would like to thank all the players – in particular the Department of Sports and Recreation, the ATP and ITF – who made it possible for the tournaments to return to Soweto.”
The men’s qualifying tournament will be played on April 27 and 28 while the qualifying tournament for the women will take place on May 4 and 5.

Under ATP, WTA and ITF the rules no player ranked in the top 50 in the world can enter a Challenger event although they can be offered a wild card to play. “While it would be great to have higher ranked player at these tournaments it is critical for tennis development that the wild cards go to local up-and-coming players who can use the event to learn the level of skill needed to succeed at a higher level, and earn much-needed ranking points,” said Smith.


JOHAN CRUYFF FOUNDATION CELEBRATE A MILESTONE IN DEVELOPMENT

Johannesburg, South Africa – The Johan Cruyff Foundation, founded by European footballer of the century Johan Cruyff is celebrating 10 years of involvement in wheelchair tennis development by sponsoring and attending coaching clinics in Moutse Village, Elandsdoorn and Ithembelihle Special School in Primrose, Germiston from 30 January to 2 February 2013.

Esther Vergeer, the most successful wheelchair tennis player in history who owns one of the longest winning streaks ever in world sport will be coming to South Africa for coaching clinics as Cruyff Foundation ambassador.

World number one and Cruyff Foundation ambassador Esther Vergeer will be jetting into the country this week (January 30 – February 3) to meet some of the younger players and share her story.
Pictures Credit: Reg Caldecott


The Cruyff Foundation are donating R120 000-00 towards purchasing wheelchair tennis equipment and coaching for over 6 villages in the Elandsdoorn area. This sponsorship will bolster the development programme initiated by Airports Company South Africa.

The Cruyff Foundation Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund was set up in 2002 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of wheelchair tennis and aims to establish sustainable wheelchair tennis programmes in developing nations. South Africa was one of the first countries identified by the fund, and today is one of the most successful! South Africa not only participates in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup, the Cruyff Foundation International Junior Camp in Africa & Europe, the Paralympic Games, but has also hosts six international events annually. We have athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world, have the second most athletes on the world ranking, are one of three countries to have athletes compete in all three categories in the Paralympics.

World number one and Cruyff Foundation ambassador Esther Vergeer will be jetting into the country this week (January 30 – February 3) to meet some of the younger players and share her story.

Esther Vergeer is the most successful wheelchair tennis player in history and owns one of the longest winning streaks ever in world sport. By the end of 2012 she had won 470 consecutive matches since her last loss on 30 January 2003.

Vergeer is a seven-time Paralympic gold medallist, having won singles and doubles gold medals at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, while she won her third successive singles gold medal in 2008 in Beijing, where she was also a silver medallist in the women’s doubles.

Vergeer won her sixth and seventh Paralympic gold medals in the women’s singles and doubles events at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which was her last competitive appearance of 2012. Vergeer’s victory in the women’s singles gold medal match at the London 2012 Paralympic Games took her unbeaten winning streak to 470 matches.

About the Cruyff Foundation
The Johan Cruyff Foundation supports and stimulates sports and play for children worldwide. Special attention is being paid to children with a physical disability as sports and play are particularly important for them.
The Cruyff Foundation supports all kind of sports projects, from street soccer to sit volleyball, from wheelchair basketball to swimming, from ice skating to horseback riding -not only in the Netherlands, but worldwide.
The Cruyff Foundation also works together with Esther Vergeer and the Esther Vergeer Foundation, organizing wheelchair tennis, basketball and athletics clinics for disabled children.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R26-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.
For more information please contact Siya Nkachela 082 679 3772 or email siya@tennis.co.za or please visit: www.tennis.co.za


STRONG SQUAD FOR UNDER21 NETBALL CHALLENGE

Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) selectors announced on Sunday a strong South African Under21 squad for a short tour to Singapore as part of their preparations for the Under 21 World Youth Championships in Glasgow in August.

L-r. (Back row) Fortunate Bagula, Rochelle Lawson, Dorette Badenhorst (Coach), Izette Lubbe, Danellé Willemse, Nobubele Phuza, Nontuthuko Khomo, Bhongolethu Ngubeni, Simphiwe Sithebe, Charlotte Scholtz (Asst. coach), Zandré Kruger, Deancke Rohde, Shadine van der Merwe, Nothando Mhlongo, Tumi Komane (Physiotherapist), Elize Kotze (SPAR Proteas national team coach) and Christine du Preez (Director selectors NSA).
(Front row) (Kneeling) Melanie von Gunten and Rochelle Lawson. (Standing) Mimi Mthethwa (President NSA), Thana Basiretsi (Manager) and Juline Rossouw.

L-r. (Back row): Dorette Badenhorst (Coach), Deancke Rohde, Zandré Kruger, Nobubele Phuza, Simphiwe Sithebe, Juline Rossouw, Melanie von Gunten, Danellé Willemse and Charlotte Scholtz (Asst. coach).
(Front row) Izette Lubbe, Bhongolethu Ngubeni, Nothando Mhlongo, Nontuthuko Khomo, Fortunate Bagula, Shadine van der Merwe, Rochelle Lawson and Mari-Lena Joubert.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


“It’s a brilliant squad,” said NSA Director of Selectors, Christine du Preez. “They have the potential to be gold medal winners, and they are all very good future prospects for the SPAR national team.”

The under 21 training squad has been attending a training camp in Pretoria, and the team leave on Monday for the tour which will include three matches against the Singapore Under 21 team, two against the Singapore Open team and one against Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).

“We plan to use this tour to see who copes best with the pressure of playing away from home and to see what we need to do to prepare for the World Youth Championships,” said Under 21 coach Dorette Badenhorst. “I am very excited about this squad. They have only had three training camps, and because they come from all over South Africa, they’ve had to work on their own, following their individualised and specialized fitness programmes. “We have been able to see the effect of their hard work, and it shows how much it means to them to be in the squad. “I have been particularly impressed by their discipline both on and off the court.”

Badenhorst said the Singapore tour was just the start of the preparations for the World Youth Championships. “Traditionally, the Under21 squad doesn’t get to play very often, so this tour will be very valuable. After that, we will take things month by month, but are planning some exciting games with regional teams, the SPAR Protea team and perhaps even a tri-nations.”

South African Under21 Netball squad to tour Singapore:
Danellé Willemse, Deancke Rohde, Mari-Lena Joubert, Melanie von Gunten, Bhongolethu Ngubeni, Izette Lubbe, Nontuthuko Khomo, Nothando Mhlongo, Simphiwe Sithebe, Mukozo Fortunate Bagula, Nobulele Phuza, Rochelle Lawson, Shadine van der Merwe, Juline Rossouw, Zandré Kruger


ROBBIE KOENIG, FORMER TENNIS PROFESSIONAL AND VOICE OF ATP, RECOVERING AFTER BIZARREMILE HIGH” DRA

• Koenig suffered a burst appendix mid-air over the Indian Ocean

Durban based Robbie Koenig, a former tennis professional, Davis Cup player and the popular voice of ATP televised tournaments is recovering at home after a bizarre ordeal on his flight back to South Africa from Australia.

‘The Voice of Tennis’ Robbie Koenig is recovering well after an emergency operation following a burst appendix.
Picture credit: BLD Communications


Koenig was en route back home after completing his television commentating duty at the ATP Auckland event in New Zealand prior to the Australian Open, when his appendix burst. “Robbie was on a Quantas flight on Sunday 13 January when I got a call from the Doctor who was on the plane giving me the news of the burst appendix” said Giselle Koenig. “Quantas were amazing, firstly to have a doctor on board, and that he was able to administer morphine to Robbie to assist him until the plane landed in Joburg.”

On hearing the news Giselle boarded a plane from Durban to Joburg to meet her husband on arrival. Robbie was taken straight to the Aarwyp hospital close to OR Tambo International for an emergency operation.

“Robbie was obviously very sick and although the operation was successful, he was hospitalised for eight days before being discharged and allowed to return home to Durban” said a relieved Giselle Koenig. “Robbie is recovering well but it will take some time. His “cheekiness” and fighting spirit is coming back so I am sure he is feeling better and is on the mend.”


WAYNE MONTGOMERY OUSTED IN AUSTRALIAN JUNIOR OPEN QUARTERFINALS

Johannesburg, South Africa - The fine run of top South African tennis junior, Wayne Montgomery has come to an end at the Junior Australian Open in Melbourne.

Wayne Montgomery of Somerset West, ranked 7 on the World Junior Rankings, reached the quarterfinals of the Junior Australian Open in Melbourne.

Picture Credit: Mario van de Waal


Today (Thursday) the new world number 1 Junior, Nick Kyrgios of Australia, beat the Somerset West based junior, ranked 7 in World Junior Tennis 6-1 6-1.
The South African, seeded 7 in Melbourne faced an onslaught of powerful groundstrokes and pin point power serves by Kyrgios from the start of the match. Kyrgios hit first serves up to 216 kmh with his serve average recorded at 192kmh. Montgomery battled to convert important points and battled to get in his rhythm, partially due to the “fiery” start by Kyrgios.
“I really struggled to play my game out there today. Nick started strong and got me off balance early and I found it tough to make any comeback” said Montgomery.

On Wednesday, Montgomery scored an impressive 6-3 6-1 over Franko Miocic of Croatia in round 3 to enter the last eight.
“I played so well yesterday and was in full control against Miocic. I was consistent from start to end but today was a different ball game and a different opponent” said Montgomery after his loss. “l have full respect for Kyrgios. He is after all the number 1 and he deserves to be there.”


MONTJANE SET FOR ACTION AT THE AUSTRALIA OPEN

Melbourne, Australia – The 2013 Australian Open Wheelchair Championships gets underway at Melbourne Park today (Wednesday), and is the first Grand Slam tournament on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour. Participation in the woman’s draw is limited to the top 8 women in the world. South Africa is therefore honoured to have Kgothatso Montjane, or KG, as she is fondly known, as a participant. She is the 1st player from the African Continent to be invited to partake in a wheelchair tennis Grand Slam event.

KG is determined to make 2013 her year and has set her sights on being the 1st African wheelchair tennis player to be ranked in the top 4 in the world. This would add to her already impressive record of firsts. In 2012 she was the 1st African wheelchair tennis player to be nominated for IPC Athlete of the month and the 1st African wheelchair tennis player to be invited to compete in the esteemed World Singles and Doubles Masters. It is clear that the sky is the limit for this phenomenal, steadfast and inspiring athlete.

The draw ceremony for the Australian Open took place on Monday 21 January 2013 where KG, currently ranked no.10 in the world drew the top seed Aniek van Koot ranked no. 2 in the world in the first round. Although a challenging draw, KG has never shyed away from competition, and is the only player in the world to have defeated Aniek in the run up to the Paralympics. Go KG, we are behind you, believe in you, and look forward to celebrating another year of firsts with you.

For more information, please contact Bianca Morkel Tel: 083 386 4002 Fax: 086 651 6664 Email: pr@tennis.co.za. Other resources worth a visit include: www.tennis.co.za; our Facebook page: WheelchairTennisSA and/or follow us on Twitter: @WCTennis.


NETBALLERS REJOICE WITH THEIR HOCKEY SISTERS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Members of the SPAR national netball team have congratulated the Investec women’s hockey team on the impressive milestones achieved in their World League match against Ghana at Hartleyvale in Cape Town on Tuesday night.

Captain Marsha Marescia became one of South Africa’s most-capped athletes when she ran on for her 300th Test, while Pietie Coetzee scored two goals to take her world record to 250 goals in 255 Test matches. South Africa beat Ghana 6-0.

“What a fantastic achievement,” said Proteas netball Captain Amanda Mynhardt. “The netball team has always followed the progress made by our hockey sisters, and we are so proud of what Marsha and Pietie in particular have achieved. “Marsha is one of South Africa’s top athletes, and we wish her well for the rest of the World League, and for 2013.

“As for Pietie, she just goes from strength to strength, and seems to be unstoppable. “We say ‘go girls, you make us so proud.’ ”

Vice-Captain Zanele Mdodana was equally enthusiastic about the hockey team’s achievements. “They are outstanding role models for young South Africans. We look forward to joining hands with them as part of Team South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year,” she said. “Congratulations to Marsha and Pietie on their incredible achievements, and we wish all the hockey players everything of the best for the coming year.”


KEVIN ANDERSON OUT FOR FIVE WEEKS

Melbourne, Australia – South African tennis star, Kevin Anderson will be side-lined for at least five weeks following surgery to his right elbow.

The 26 year old Johannesburg based professional will be undergoing surgery today (Tuesday) in Melbourne, Australia following his best showing as a professional in a Grand Slam since turning pro in 2007.

Anderson reached the fourth round on the Australian Open losing to world number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in three sets on Sunday.

Speaking from Australia, Anderson said, “Today I am undergoing a straightforward procedure to remove some loose bone fragments from my right elbow which were discovered by MRI diagnosis during the Sydney International. The fragments need to be removed to protect against the possibility of future serious injury. The procedure is common amongst tennis players and the recovery time is estimated at 4-6 weeks. Unfortunately I will have to withdraw from the San Jose and Memphis ATP events and my hope is to be fit and ready to defend my title in Delray Beach at the end of February.”

Following the operation, Anderson will travel to Auckland, New Zealand where he will recuperate and undergo his recovery process under the watchful eyes of coach GD Jones and trainer Murray Hing. Both Jones and Hing are based in Auckland.


MIXED FORTUNES FOR OUR TENNIS JUNIORSDOWN UNDER

Johannesburg, South Africa – The three South African junior players representing the country in the Junior Australian Open had mixed fortunes as the tournament started this weekend.

The top ranked South African on the world rankings, Wayne Montgomery of Somerset West was a winner but lady luck was not on the side of Ilze Hattingh and Madrie le Roux in the girls singles who were both beaten in the opening round.

Montgomery, ranked 8 in the world and seeded 7 in Melbourne, had a tough first round match outplaying unseeded Harry Bourchier of Australia, 7-6 1-6 9-7. Montgomery needed just over two and a half hours to win his match and saved seven set points in the opening set and a match point in the third set before winning through. “I really struggled with timing out there today as the courts were much faster than last week’s warm up event. I must confess I didn’t play my best tennis but a win is a win even though it was ugly” said Montgomery after victory.

Allan Karam, South African coach with the juniors said that Wayne played a real “gutsy” game and “grinded” all the way through the match.”

In the girls Pretoria’s Ilze Hattingh impressed in her match against world number 2 and second seed, Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic but was beaten by the Czech, 6-3 2-6 4-6. Hattingh had many opportunities on serve but struggled to win the big points throughout the two hour twenty two minute battle.

Madrie Le Roux of Uniondale in the Western Cape also took her unseeded opponent, Fiona Ferro of France to three sets before bowing out 6-7 (6) 6-3 3-6.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Montgomery comes up against French junior champion, Quentin Halys. Although ranked only 40 in the world, Halys favours the hard courts and with his big serve and ground stroke game could pose a real challenge for the young South African. “Halys is a real streaky player which will make it tough for Wayne to get any rhythm. He is an aggressive all court player with decent movement around the court. Wayne will have to return well, vary the pace and placement and not give the Frenchman a lot to work with. Wayne’s counter punching game must be aggressive and consistent. It’s going to be a real “slug fest” and hard match but Wayne is fired up for the challenge” said Karam.


TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA NAME THEIR TEAMS FOR THE FORTHCOMING AFRICAN JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis South Africa announced in Johannesburg today the teams for the African Junior Championships to be played in Nairobi , Kenya from 18 to 23 March 2013.
South Africa will participate in the girls and boys Under 14 and Under 16 age groups.

The teams are as follows;
Girls
Under 14
Lee Barnard (GN)
Zani Barnard (GN)
Under 16
Nadine de Villiers (GC)
Huibre-Mare Botes (FS)

Boys
Under 14
Richard Thongoane (GC)
Bertus Kruger (GC)
Under 16
Lloyd Harris (WP)
Brandon Laubser (GC)

I addition, the direct entries for the African Junior Championships Under 18 from 18 to 23 February 2013 in Potchefstroom based on International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior rankings are:
Girls:
Ilze Hattingh (GN)
Madrie Le Roux (BOL)
Lynn Kiro (WP)
Janet Koch (WP)
Jessica Simpson (WP)

Boys:
Wayne Montgomery (BOL)
Matthew Rossouw (GN)
Okkie Kellerman (WP)
Francois Kellerman (WP)
Joshua Luck (WP)

The wild card entries are:
Girls:
Theresa van Zyl (NC)
Sarah Sarjoo (GC)
Huibre-Mare Botes (FS)
Louise-Mare Botes (FS)

Boys:
Lloyd Harris (WP)
Brandon Laubser (GE)
Yaseen Ibrahim (KZN)
Musawenkosi Mpondi (KZN)


MONTGOMERY LOSES IN THE FINAL OF MAJOR JUNIOR INTERNATIONAL

Johannesburg, South Africa – South Africa’s Wayne Montgomery is peaking just at the right time ahead of next week’s Junior Australian Open.
Montgomery of Somerset West, ranked 8 on the world junior ranking lost today (Thursday) in the final of the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon International a Grade 1 ITF world ranking event and the official junior warm up tournament of the first junior Grand Slam event of 2013.
Australia’s top ranked junior, seeded 2 in the tournament Nick Kyrgios beat Montgomery seeded 6, 6-2 6-1 in the final played at Traralgon Tennis Complex in Victoria.
The Australian served with precision, accuracy and power throughout the match. Montgomery, known for his effective return of serve, was no match for the big serving Australian who powered 15 aces past the South African. Montgomery struggled with his serve in the final and the Australian’s shot selection and aggression came through at well calculated times.
“I had several break point opportunities in the match and even though I have been returning well all week, Nik’s big serve game was on target and he didn’t allow me any breaks or to get into any sort of rhythm whatsoever” said Montgomery following defeat.
The match delivered 352 ground strokes combined with 25 winners and a number of unplayable shots generated by Kyrgios including some brutal serving power.
Each of the break points Montgomery had, were saved with aces by the Australian.
Montgomery said despite the loss he had enjoyed a good week. “I am playing well, serving and returning well. I feel confident going into Melbourne next week and will take one match at a time.”
Montgomery now travels with African junior champion Ilze Hattingh of Pretoria and Madrie Le Roux of Uniondale with South African coach Allan Karam to Melbourne for the Junior Australian Open starting on Monday. All three South African juniors are into the main draw proper of the Junior Grand Slam. This is the first time in more than a decade that South Africa will have three junior players directly accepted into the main draw of the Open.


STATEMENT FROM TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA CEO IAN SMITH REGARDING BRAD DREWETT

Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis South Africa through their CEO, Ian Smith expressed their sadness in hearing the news that ATP Executive Chairman and President, Brad Drewett will step down from his position following his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

South Africa fell under the ATP International tennis division of which Drewett was head.

“Brad visited our successful ATP SA Open at Montecasino in 2010 and was extremely impressed at what Tennis South Africa had put together” said Smith. “Brad also assisted me personally and Tennis South Africa with the South African Airways/ATP role out/event sponsorship issue and was a big support to our continued efforts in promoting the men’s game in our country” continued Smith.

Smith said that he had known Drewett for many years and that he has been very helpful in assisting Smith in trying to bring back an ATP Tour event to South Africa. “Brad always has taken my calls and agreed to meet with me when I travel to London. He has been receptive and very understanding of our position and although nothing is available on the ATP calendar at the moment, Brad never ruled South Africa out.”

Smith ended by saying that Tennis South Africa send their thoughts and good wishes to Brad and his family and the ATP during this difficult time.


MONTGOMERY INTO FINALS OF TOP AUSTRALIAN TENNIS EVENT

Traralgon Victoria, Australia – Wayne Montgomery, South Africa’s top world ranked junior tennis player is into the finals of the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon International, a Grade 1 ITF junior event being played in Traralgon Victoria, Australia. Montgomery, seeded 6 in the tournament and ranked 8 on the ITF world junior rankings upset fourth seeded Elias Ymer of Sweden 7-6 (6) 6-1 in Tuesday’s quarter-finals and today (Wednesday) he beat twelfth seeded Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-0 3-6 7-6(4) . Montgomery will now play Nick Kyrgios of Australia, seeded 2 in tomorrow’s (Thursday) final.
Speaking from Australia, Tennis South Africa coach travelling with Montgomery, Allan Karam said Wayne was in great form ahead of next week’s Australian Open Junior Championships. “Wayne is really striking the ball well and impressing everyone here down under. Tomorrow’s final is going to be a tough one but with Wayne playing the way he is, he has a great chance. Let’s hope this is all a good sign for the first Junior Grand Slam starting in Melbourne next week.”


SOUTH AFRICAN UMPIRE OFF TO A FLYING START

Johannesburg, South Africa – South African netball umpire Theresa Prince is off to a flying start, as she begins her year officiating a test series between reigning world champions Australia, and third ranked England in January.

Theresa Prince of Nelson Mandela Bay has been making tracks in the umpiring circuit, as she was invited by the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) to officiate the World Netball Championships in Singapore and the FastNet final in 2011, as well as a Test Series between netball greats Australia and New Zealand last September. “I am very excited to have been invited to umpire a top test series again” said a humble Theresa Prince after the announcement was made. “It is an honour to represent my country.”

Netball South Africa’s (NSA) Director of Umpires Hannette Brewer was thrilled with the invitation, and commented on behalf of the Executive; “Theresa is an inspiration to all South African Umpires. Her achievements are a showcase of South Africa’s potential to be amongst the top in the world.”

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