South African Raven Klaasen and American Eric Butorac claimed their first ATP World Tour title as a team, defeating Pablo Cuevas and Horacio Zeballos 6-2, 6-4 in 56 minutes to win the ATP Malaysian Open, in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
The duo won 81 per cent of first serve points and converted four of seven break points to seal victory in their first tournament as a team.
“it was a great match for us today and awesome week in general” said Klaasen. “I felt comfortable out there today and mainly due to the good start we had. It’s very tough to relax with this scoring format but we were playing from the front on that helped. So all in all VERY happy with the performance today.”
“From the first practice, until the final match, I thought we had a really great week together, put some good tennis on court, and that was what happened,” said Butorac.
“We knew the first match was probably going to be the biggest test because we hadn’t played together before, and we kind of had to figure a few things out. I feel like we got stronger every match, so we really enjoyed it out there, and the crowd today really showed up and made it fun out there for us,” said Klaasen.
The 32-year-old Butorac won his first title of the season, and first since Sao Paulo in February 2012. The left-hander improved his win-loss record in finals to 14-8, and has now won at least one title in every season since 2007. He said past success in Kuala Lumpur helped his title run this year.
The American thinks he works well with Klaasen, due to their affinity for attacking at the net. “I think we have different skills, but play a similar style of doubles. If you saw in the finals, the other guys wanted to sit back and hit shots really hard from the baseline, but we wanted to play a lot at the net. We were really able to craft the points and play them in our favour, so I think hopefully moving forward that we can use those tactical and court smarts to our advantage.”

The 30-year-old Klaasen improved his win-loss record in finals to 3-1, and consolidated a successful fortnight. Last week, he captured his second title of the season in Metz (w/Brunstrom).
Klaasen said that the win confirmed his good form of late. “It was good to capitalize on back to back ATP World Tour 250 wins. It gives me lots of confidence for next season” said Klaasen.
This is the third win of the season for Klaasen - Nice and Metz (w/Brunstrom).
Klaasen as of Monday should be in the world’s top 45. “There is no better feeling than watching your ranking move in the right direction. I’m looking forward to Monday and seeing some progress on my ranking. It will definitely help me in getting closer to playing in some big events.”
The American/South African team are planning on building on their partnership. “We’ve decided that we’re going to play together until the end of the season, and then we’ll start next year together too, so hopefully we can build on this momentum and form going into next season,” said Klaasen.


Worcester, England – In true South African style the SPAR Proteas bounced back from defeat and played their hearts out in the final test against England in Worcester on Friday. “Our players showed true courage and character on court. They were more comfortable and consistent in their ball placement, losing some of the caution that they had before.”

SPAR Protea wing defence Nontle Gwavu jumps for the ball against the tight defence of England’s Jade Clarke.

SPAR Proteas goal defence, and Kotze’s player of the match Karla Mostert against England’s Mia Ritchie and Sara Byaman.
Pictures by: backpageimages.com

The England side started off strong, with an emphasis on defence. Melissa Myburgh was given very little room to move as goal keeper Geva Mentor put up a wall in the South African circle. Despite a number of turnover balls from the South African defence – Karla Mostert had a phenomenal game – the SPAR Proteas were unable to capitalise on the opportunities. England led after the first quarter by 16 goals to 7.

The second quarter continued in a similar vein, as both teams had brilliant and poor moments. Maryka Holtzhausen – celebrating her 50th test cap – made some excellent long shots at goal, throwing off her defenders with her left-handed play. With Holtzhausen providing more support to young goal shooter Myburgh, she was able to gain more confidence as the game drew on and she began to play more of an abrasive game. England led 30-16 at half time.

Bringing in the big guns after half time, England coach Anna Mayes brought on Stacey Francis as goal defence. Elize Kotze also made a number of changes as Bongiwe Msomi replaced Simnikiwe Mdaka on centre and Lindie Lombard stepped up to play wing attack. Improved communication between South African goal shooters enabled the girls in green and gold to outscore the England side at one stage, but this was short lived, as England went on to score a further 12 goals to the SPAR Proteas 9.

It was the final quarter that showed the true ability of the SPAR Proteas, as they played a brilliant 15 minutes of netball. Precious Mthembu joined Adele Niemand and Karla Mostert on defence, and the ball was driven up court more often. Playing into the contact faults of England goal keeper Lindsay Keable the SPAR Proteas scored a number of consecutive goals, eventually outscoring the England side by 5 goals. The final whistle blew at 53-41 to the home side.

“The more our players compete at this level, the better they will get” said Kotze after the game. “We need to compete, contest and improve, focusing on our conditioning to be able to compete with consistency for 60 minutes.”

The SPAR Proteas will have another opportunity to play the England side, this time on home ground, as they will play a tri-nations against England, and Trinidad and Tobago at the end of October. “We can’t wait” said coach Kotze, “we will be ready!”


Worcester, England – SPAR Proteas coach Elize Kotze says that the only way that her team will be able to step up to the next level of netball, is if she is provided with more support. Not having a full and consistent support team to surround the national coach is detrimental to the team’s performance, and more structures are needed to encourage strict conditioning.

“We need a central monitoring base” said Kotze in an interview following the loss of two test matches against England this past week. “We need a platform that allows for the national fitness coach and regional coach to align the fitness goals of their players.” Bearing in mind that not all players have the same opportunities or facilities to train at, the responsibility falls on the regional coaches and the players themselves.

“We did adjust our approach to conditioning after last year’s Quad series” said Kotze. “We focused more on endurance and intensity of play, but I also need to rely on the ethics of my players. If they want to be in the SPAR Protea squad, then they need to make fitness, conditioning and diet a lifestyle. We also need more training camps so that this can be better monitored.”

Aware of the sustainability of her team, Kotze knows what changes need to be made in the last test match against England on Friday. “We are South African, and I know that we can bounce back from defeat. We need to stick to our instructions and change to more of a running style of play. We became too predictable in the last two matches.” Conscious of the ruthless English defence, the SPAR Proteas dropped in confidence towards the end of both tests, and became static; “our players are too aware of the English defence, and our play became one-dimensional, we need to force England into their discomfort. Our success will be the element of surprise.”


Thomas Hogstedt, one of the world’s most prominent tennis coaches, has identified two South African sisters as potential Grand Slam champions and has taken them under his wing.
The Swede, who has guided the likes of Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki to the pinnacle of their careers, was invited by Tennis South Africa to conduct a clinic in Stellenbosch last November.
At the clinic he came across the then 10-year-old Zoe Kruger who immediately caught his eye. “I saw from the first day I could transform Zoe Kruger into one of the best players in the world,” said Hogstedt.
He then discovered that Kruger, who comes from Pretoria, has an equally talented younger sister, Isabella, who is just eight years old. Hogstedt has an uncanny ability to recognise what it takes to turn a pre-teenager into a champion as he proved when coaching Wozniacki as a 13-year-old. He took her to No 1 in the world.
“Zoe plays an aggressive game from the baseline but she can play with high spin and angles. She also likes to come to the net and serves well so she has a great all-around game and has a liking for all surfaces.
“Isabella reminds me of Martina Hingis. She plays a very fast, flat game and has great feel for the ball. Her favourite shot is the volley but she also hits a very good drop shot,” says Hogstedt.
Hogstedt comes to South Africa whenever he is able but has a coaching team who work with the girls when he can’t travel. The girls also go to Hogstedt’s facility in Sweden for training camps and he and his coaching team travel with the girls when they play on the international circuit
Zoe has no peers in her age group in South Africa which she demonstrated by winning the SA National Under-12 Championship when she was just 10 years old. Last month she reached the final of an Under-12 tournament in Canada, winning five of her six matches.
“She has worked fantastically during the time since we met. When we started in November she lost to the No 42 in Canada and a month ago she beat the Canadian No 1,” said Hogstedt.
Zoe also helped South Africa to a third place finish in the Under-12 team championship in Canada.
Isabella is already regarded as one of the best eight-year-old players in the world. She reached the final of highly regarded Little Mo tournament in the Under-8 age group when she was just seven and lost the final in three sets to Russia’s No 1 player.
Hogstedt knows what it takes to play at highest level of the game. In his 14 year professional career he beat in various ATP events all 3 Swedish players who were ranked no 1 in the world at some stage during their careers namely Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg. Hogstedt also beat other no1 ranked players like Rafter, Courier, Kafelnikov and Vilas. He won the US Open Junior event in 1981 and reached a career-high ranking of No 38 in the world.
As a coach he has worked with some of the top names in the sport, including Germany’s Tommy Haas and Nicolas Kiefer. Hogstedt alos coached the three top Swedes Jonas Bjorkman (ranked 4), Magnus Norman (ranked 2) and Thomas Johansson (ranked 9).
His almost three-year coaching relationship with Maria Sharapova came to an end in July this year.
And, as Hogstedt says: “I took Wozniacki, Li Na and Sharapova to the top. Next it will be two young sisters from South Africa – Zoe and Isabella Kruger – who I will make Grand Slam champions for South Africa!”


Wembley, London – In an up-and-down match in Wembley Arena on Wednesday evening, the SPAR Proteas faced the reality that inevitably; England were the better team. Showing more maturity, stamina and strength in play; the English gained as South Africa waned as the game progressed.

As always, the SPAR Proteas were off to a strong start. Taking guidance from their coaching sessions to heart, the attack players played a patient and controlled game, despite the high intensity of the match. The attack combination of Msomi, Mdaka, Holtzhausen and Myburgh was solid, and a number of goals were scored in the beginning of the first quarter. However, England edged more into the lead as the ruthless goal defence Stacey Francis made a number of intercepts, and the home side led after the first whistle by 13 goals to 9.

England were first to score off a South African centre in the second quarter and began to run away with their lead, scoring a further 7 goals to SA’s 4 within seven minutes. The SPAR Proteas were not able to capitalise on their intercepts and threw away a number of opportunities. Simnikiwe Mdaka called for injury and was replaced in wing attack by Holtzhausen as Lindie Lombard took over goal attack. Despite a few good minutes of play by the South Africa side, they were hampered by a lack of confidence in the goal circle. It was in moments like these that the maturity of the English side showed. “Our goal attack was not able to properly support our goal shooter” said Coach Elize Kotze after the game, “we need our goal attack to be fearless and take crazy shots at goal.”

The third quarter saw a number of changes to both sides as Vanes-Mari du Toit was brought on as goal keeper, Yolandi Stone as wing attack, and Mostert and Niemand were moved to wing defence and goal defence, respectively. Anna Mayes also made a number of changes to her wing attack, centre and goal keeper positions.

England was first to score again as the SPAR Proteas made a number of errors. The South African defence efforts were hampered as balls were continuously lost close to the goal circle as the attack team was put under immense pressure for space and movement. English goal shooter Jo Harten, who was celebrating her 50th cap, had a brilliant game, and was back on form after she was benched in the first test.

SPAR Proteas captain was moved back onto court within a few minutes as her team’s confidence started to drop. However, the third quarter reflected much of the style of play as the previous one, with England bullying their way further into the lead with a 41-25 score.

Although there was some redemptive play by the South African’s in the third quarter, it was not strong enough to close in on the experienced English team. Niemand capitalised on a number of rebounds, but again the SPAR Proteas struggled to find space to play the court and lost opportunities.
The final whistle blew at 51-33 to the English side.

“This was a very disappointing result, as we could not play with consistency” said Kotze after the game. “We started off very well and had more than enough turn over balls to survive a match like this, again this comes down to a lack of discipline on ball possession, and conditioning.”


Bath, England – In a nail-biting first test match against England on UK soil, the SPAR Proteas fought a good fight, starting off very strong, only to fall slightly behind towards the end of each quarter.

SPAR Protea goal shooter Melissa Myburgh fights for the ball against England’s Stacey Francis.

SPAR Protea Lindie Lombard aims at goal under Eboni Beckford Chambers’ defence.
Pictures by: Backpage images.com

The score was neck and neck to begin with, until it equalled at five-all in the first 7 minutes of the first quarter, thereafter South Africa took the lead. The combinations set by Coach Elize Kotze worked very well. Bongiwe Msomi was her usual Tigress on centre, supported by Simnikiwe Mdaka on wing attack, and the team of the lanky Melissa Myburgh on goal shooter and Maryka Holtzhausen on goal attack was a powerful one. The SPAR Protea players were focused and feisty on court, and maintained majority of the possession until England equalled at 10-all, just scoring a final goal to end the first quarter 11-10.

The second quarter was much the same as the girls in green and gold levelled out the field with their first goal, and then leapt ahead by three goals within the first four minutes. England crept up, but South Africa was having none of it and maintained their lead well into the second quarter. However, a few consecutive goals and England was able to close the gap again with an 18-all score, sneaking in a further two goals before the half-time whistle.

It was the third quarter that let the SPAR South African side down, as they were not able to capitalise on a number of turnover balls. England was quicker at getting their ball into the goal circle, and was able to gain a lead of 31-23 in the sixth minute. South Africa found their rhythm and began closing in, but lost it again after England called time, and lagged at the end of the quarter by 29 to 35.

Coach Elize Kotze made a number of changes in the final quarter which included switching Myburgh with Vanes-Mari du Toit and bringing Thuli Qegu on as wing defence. Some new combinations aided in team stamina, but the last three minutes of the final quarter were England’s spotlight. The ladies in red made a number of intercepts and quick passes to score consecutive goals, and they finished the match with a 49-38 win.

England Coach Anna Mayes gave credit to the South African side after the match; “You can never underestimate a team that South Africa brings, they have a lot of depth in the team, all respect and acknowledgement to South Africa, especially in their attack.”

Mayes, wasn’t as happy with her own team’s performance; “We were ill disciplined and didn’t cherish any of the ball possession that we were given or gained. We probably only found our groove in the last three minutes of the final quarter of the game.”

SPAR Proteas Coach Elize Kotze said that this was a good first game to see where the SPAR Proteas stand against England; “I am disappointed that we weren’t able to capitalise on all our ball possession, and that we are still lacking in about 20 minutes of our game, but this was a good test to see where we are, and what we need to improve on.”

“I need to settle my combinations” said Kotze, “we still have two tests left and I need to put up the best 7 who are able to play at this intensity.”

The second test between the SPAR Proteas and England will take place on Wednesday 25 September at Wembley Arena at 19h45 (UK time), 20h45 (SA time).


Bath, London – The SPAR Baby Proteas are feeling well prepared ahead of their first test match in a three test series, against England on Sunday.

The SPAR Protea team ready to take on England. Picture taken in Pretoria at a training camp last weekend.
Back (l-r): Melissa Myburgh, Nontle Gwavu, Adele Niemand, Thuli Qegu, Lindie Lombard, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Simnikiwe Mdaka.
Front (l-r): Karla Mostert, Bongiwe Msomi (Vice-Captain), Precious Mthembu, Maryka Holtzhausen (Captain), Yolandi Stone.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

“Our past experiences, have matured not only me as a coach, but the whole team” said Coach Elize Kotze on Saturday. “It would be very naïve of me to tell my players that they have to win tomorrow, but we will be going into the game with a winning mentality. We want to play winning netball; flawless, disciplined and controlled.”

The SPAR Proteas arrived in Bath on Thursday, and have since then had a number of strong training sessions, focussing on ball possession and endurance. “I am satisfied with the planning and training that we’ve done in preparation for tomorrow’s game” said Kotze. “We’ve had enough time to focus on each individual facet of the game, and are going into the match treating every single ball possession individually.”

Kotze has been pushing the players in short but intense training sessions to build their endurance on court. In previous matches the SPAR Proteas have given top netball nations a run for their money. “In the World Cup we held our own against New Zealand for two quarters, last year in the Quad Series we put up a fight against England for three, now all we need is 60 minutes.”

The SPAR South African team will take on third world ranked England at the University of Bath on Sunday 22 September at 13h30 (UK time), 14h30 (SA time). Matches will be broadcast live on SuperSport.


Johannesburg, South Africa - Cancer is a scourge that appears to be on the rise.
The most common form among women is breast cancer, with about one in nine South African women likely to suffer the disease, which is no respecter of boundaries. Women of all races and all classes are susceptible.

Reach for Recovery’s Beulah Jankelowitz, accepts the handover cheques at the 2012 SPAR Joburg Challenge. Olympic Bronze Medalist Bridgitte Hartley assisted SPAR South Rand’s Managing Director Brett Botten with the handover.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

But the good news is that caught early, breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of the disease, and is far from a death sentence.
Among the warning signs are:
• A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea;
• A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast;
• A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle;
• A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple;
• A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed);
• Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple;
• An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast; and
• A marble-like hardened area under the skin.

Among the treatments for breast cancer are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, which could involve either, removing only the lump or else a complete mastectomy. This is where the support group Reach for Recovery comes in. An international organisation, Reach for Recovery was started in South Africa in 1967, and there are 20 branches in South Africa.

Chairperson of the Johannesburg Branch, Beulah Jankelowitz, explains that Reach for Recovery is a support group for breast cancer patients, which provides emotional and physical support. All the counsellors are trained breast cancer survivors, who are able to understand the feelings of the newly-diagnosed patient.

“We are approached by doctors and often by the patients themselves, and when we hear someone is about to have surgery, we visit them either at home or in the hospital,” she says. “We explain what is going to happen, and what they can expect. We also provide pretty floral bags for them to carry their drains, and very soft cushions to put under their arms so they can be more comfortable. “While we can’t provide medical advice, we are also available to answer questions both during and after their treatment,” she said.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Reach for Recovery is once again the designated beneficiary for the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge and 5km Fun Run at the Wanderers on Sunday October 13, with a portion of all entry fees going to the support group.

Many members of Reach for Recovery will be taking part in the Challenge and Fun Run, wearing their distinctive pink t-shirts. They also stand out because wherever they are, they are surrounded by laughter. They are an amazingly positive group of women who know all about the terror of being diagnosed with breast cancer, but they will also tell you how they came through it with the support of other women who had been there as well.

So do your bit to fight the scourge of cancer by taking part in the SPAR Joburg Challenge. The first 15 000 entrants will receive a free race t-shirt, and the first 15 000 to finish the race will receive a medal and a goodie bag … and perhaps you will be the one to win the lucky draw for a brand new Nissan Micra.


Soweto, South Africa - The inaugural Soweto Open junior tennis tournament will be held at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Jabavu, Soweto from 21-24 September.

This first ever open junior tennis tournament forms an important part of the Tennis South Africa development programme that has the Arthur Ashe complex as one of its major development hubs.

There will be an entry fee of R20.00 and juniors of all ages under the age of 18 years can enter. The International Tennis Federation approved Red, Orange and Green balls will be used for the younger age groups and standard tennis balls for the under 14 and open age groups.

To enter, junior players are requested to send a SMS to Frank 078 285 1546 or Thabo 073 834 5887. Entries close at 18h00 on Thursday 19th September 2013.

Prizes will be awarded to the winners and runners up of the respective age group categories.


Bloemfontein,South Africa – Tennis fever has hit the Free State capital as over 700 tennis players from across the country arrive in Bloemfontein, Mangaung this week to participate in the South African Junior National Championships (21 – 25 September 2013) followed by the Dunlop Challenge which takes place from 26 – 30 September 2013.
There will be a qualifying event for the Junior Nationals on Saturday 21 September with the main draw commencing on Sunday 22 September. The finals of the Junior Nationals will be played at the Free State Stadium on Wednesday morning, 25 September.

The annual back to back tournaments hosted by Free State tennis are premier junior events and both form part of the Key Health series, making them amongst the most prestigious junior tennis tournaments in the country. One of the strongest line-ups of players in the history of the tournaments has confirmed their entry for the 2013 events.

Boys and girls in the under 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 age categories will participate in a singles and doubles knock-out event for the first of the two events namely the SA Juniors National Championships. Players who don’t make the main draw of the Junior Nationals will automatically be entered into the Spring Tournament which will be played at the same time as the National Championships.

The same age groups will compete in gold and platinum draws in the second tournament, the Dunlop Challenge.

Different tennis clubs and schools throughout Mangaung as well as the University of the Free State and the Free State Tennis Stadium headquarters of Free State Tennis in Bloemfontein will be used to play the event.

Gustav Fichardt, Chairman of Free State Tennis junior committee says Free State Tennis is ready to deliver two great events. “We are excited at hosting another edition of the South African Junior Nationals and Dunlop Challenge. Both tournaments have proved to be a great success in the past and together with our sponsors, Dunlop, we are looking to make these flagship tournaments two of the best of the year.”

Super-Brands Divisional General Manager, Steve Gallienne said that his company’s brand, Dunlop is happy to be a sponsor. “We are delighted to be associated with events boasting the cream of South Africa’s junior tennis players. As one of the world’s leading brands, we continue to commit ourselves to the development of tennis in our country especially at grassroots level”, he said.


Johannesburg, South African - Schools are the nurseries for the development of sportsmen and women in various disciplines, and running is no exception.

Schools prize winners Atlholang Primary School at the 2012 edition of the Joburg SPAR Women’s Challenge, at Old Parktonians on 14 October.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Two of South Africa’s most prominent runners, Olympians Rene Kalmer and Irvette van Zyl are among the many who started their running careers at school; “I started running when I was at primary school, and I’ve been running ever since,” says Kalmer. She and Van Zyl also started taking part in the SPAR Women’s 10km Challenge races in their early teens, and both were still at school when they won their first Challenge races.

The Johannesburg SPAR Challenge race at the Wanderers Club on October 13 offers schools the opportunity to test their young runners and stand a chance of winning computer equipment worth thousands of rands. The top three schools will each receive a Mecer laptop with Win7 Starter software and School image.

The school with the most entrants will also win a Brother Flatbed Print, Scan, Fax and Copy printer, and the school with the second highest number of entrants will win a Brother Mono Laser Scan, Copy, Print and Fax printer.

Girls participating in the 10km Challenge must be 15 or older, but there is also a 5km Fun Run, which means the schools competition is open to primary schools as well. Although some girls may want to emulate runners like Kalmer and Van Zyl, and try for the top spot, walkers are welcome in both events, and many girls may prefer to walk the routes, chatting to their friends and catching up on the latest news.

Many schools use the Challenge to promote school unity and some organise competitions within the schools – house against house, or grade against grade.

There is also a role for boys at the school, who can support their female counterparts along the route, or go to the Wanderers Club to cheer them across the line, and share the fun of a superb day’s entertainment.

Entries for the schools competition should be submitted together, by September 28. Only entries of 20 or more pupils are eligible for the prizes, and at least 20 girls must complete one or other race.

As an added incentive, the first 15 000 pre-entries will receive a free T-shirt, and the first 15 000 to finish will be given a medal and a goodie-bag.


Johannesburg, South Africa – In a surprise move, Slovenia have not named their number one player, Grega Zemlja (ranked 74 in the world) in their singles line up for this weekend’s crucial Davis Cup Tie against South Africa.
The veteran South African Davis Cup star, Rik De Voest will get South Africa’s weekend campaign under way against Slovenia at the Park Tivoli Tennis Complex in Ljubljana, Slovenia tomorrow (Friday). De Voest will play Slovenian number two, Blaz Rola in the opening rubber. This will be the first time that the two have met.
This will be the 41st time that 33 year old De Voest will step onto court in the green and gold.
The draw for the first round Group One Europe/Africa playoff tie was made at the historic City Hall in Ljubljana on Thursday and De Voest’s name was drawn for the first singles rubber.
In the past De Voest has spoken about the importance of playing Davis Cup for his country and even though he is a veteran at representing his country each and every Tie holds an important part in his heart. “I am a bit surprised that the Slovenia number one is not playing singles, but regardless I am looking forward to starting procedures off for my country and hopefully giving South Africa that all important lead after the first rubber” said De Voest.
The absence of Kevin Anderson and Izak Van Der Merwe has somewhat weakened the South African line-up but Captain John-Laffnie De Jager and his team remain upbeat about their chances away from home this weekend. De Jager named Ruan Roelofse as his second singles player. Roelofse ironically made his first Davis Cup appearance against the same team Slovenia last year in Soweto where South Africa triumphed 4-1.
Roelofse will be up next on Friday in the second rubber against Slovenian’s Blaz Kavcic ranked 105 in the world.
“I am very excited to be playing for South Africa again” said Roelofse. “I am truly honoured to play for my country, I feel confident on the clay, and am ready to give of my best.”
SA’s non-playing captain John-Laffnie de Jager said after a week’s training he felt Roelofse was the best option as the No 2. “I’ve came to the decision because Roelofse has been playing well in recent months, and then at training this week on the clay he was really impressive,” said De Jager. “That’s why I selected Roelofse and I have confidence that he’ll do the business.”
As expected, Klaasen has been consigned to doubles duty and will partner Ruan Roelofse.
“I see this as an opportunity to nail down the tie in the doubles match on Saturday,” said Klaasen. “Hopefully by the time we play the doubles South Africa will be leading so that we can sew up the result before the start of Sunday’s reverse singles.”
South African Captain Johan Laffnie De Jager said like De Voest he was surprised that Zemlja was not picked for the singles. “To not play your highest world ranked player on the opening day was a surprise. Apparently Zemlja is injured and that’s maybe why the Slovenian Captain opted not to play him. Regardless, my team are ready and upbeat and will no doubt do their country proud this weekend.”
The playing programme;
Friday singles (start 11h00): Rik De Voest (RSA) vs Blaz Rola (SLO) followed by Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. Blaz Kavcic (SLO),
Saturday doubles (start 14h00): Raven Klaasen (RSA) and Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. Janez Semrajc (SLO) and Grega Zemja (SLO).
Sunday reverse singles (11h00): Rik De Voest (RSA) vs. Blaz Kavcic (SLO), Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. Blaz Rola (SLO).
South Africa: Rik De Voest, Ruan Roelofse; Raven Klaasen and Nikala Scholtz. Captain: John-Laffnie de Jager.
Slovenia: Blaz Kavcic, Blaz Rola and Grega Zemlja and Janez Semrajc. Captain: Blaz Trupej.


Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa have chosen a strong and balanced team for the three-Test series against England towards the end of this month.

Back l-r: Nontle Gwavu, Maryka Holtzhausen (Captain), Melissa Myburgh, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Adele Niemand, Nokuthula Qegu, Karla Mostert.
Front l-r: Lindie Lombard, Yolandi Stone, Bongiwe Msomi (Captain), Simnikiwe Mdaka, Precious Mthembu

Head coach of the SPAR South African team, Elize Kotze, said she was very happy with the team, although three experienced players – Erin Burger, Zanele Mdodana and Chrisna Bootha – were unavailable for selection because of injury.

“Losing that much experience is a serious blow, but I’m very pleased with the team that we’ve selected,” she said. “Some young players, like Lindie Lombard, are going to be given a chance to show us what they can do, and we’re also very happy to have a player like Yolandi Stone, who actually gave up netball for a while, back in the fold.

“Lindie went to the Quad series (against Australia, New Zealand and England) last year, but only got about 10 minutes of game time before she was injured. But now she is back from recovery and rehabilitation, and she is very good back-up for a player like Maryka (Holtzhausen),” said Kotze.

“Lindie had an outstanding SPAR National Championships, and showed us just how good she is, ”she added. “She is a very creative player, and performs superbly as a specialist goal defence. She has an excellent work ethic and has a wonderful feel for what is expected from her.”

Kotze said Stone would be a very good replacement for Burger, who was named player of the tournament at the World Championships in Singapore in 2011. “She’s a good team player, and an excellent distributor of the ball,” said Kotze. The coach said she had been very pleased with the progress made at the training camp held in Pretoria last weekend.

Kotze said the series against the team ranked third in the world would be a big challenge for the SPAR Proteas, but she believed they were ready to meet the challenge. “We have been viewing a lot of footage of England in action, and every player has been studying their opponent so they know how to deal with them. I think we’re going to know a lot more about England than they will know about us,” she said.

The three Tests will be played in Bath on September 22, Wembley on September 25 and Worcester on September 27.

SPAR National Netball Team: Melissa Myburgh, Lindie Lombard, Yolandi Stone, Maryka Holtzhausen (Captain), Bongiwe Msomi (Vise-Captain), Simnikiwe Mdaka, Nokuthula Qegu, Karla Mostert, Precious Mthembu, Adele Niemand, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Nontle Gwavu


Soweto, South Africa - Two promising Soweto junior tennis players will be jetting off to Botswana to proudly represent South Africa.

The top two boy and girl under 12 players to represent South Africa in Botswana from left Jansmith Moeng, Amukelani Mokone and coach Moses Nthuping (coach)

From left coach Moses Nthuping with Amukelani Mokone and Jansmith Moeng who will be representing South Africa in Botswana at the ITF/CAT African Junior Circuit 2013
Pictures by: Tennis South Africa

The junior players, namely Jansmith Moeng and Amukelani Mokone are the top two boy and girl 12 and under players training at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Jabavu, Soweto.

Several years ago, the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex was totally refurbished in a joint partnership facilitated by Tennis South Africa with The Gauteng Province, City of Joburg and Lottery Board. The complex was developed into a multi-million Rand international facility and was opened by the widow of former tennis ace Arthur Ashe, Jeanne Ashe. Arthur Ashe had a dream when he visited South Africa in the 1970’s to build a stadium in Soweto which was close to his heart. Ashe funded the initial facility but due to mismanagement, the stadium was vandalised and became a slum.

The newly renovated facility is impressive and has been able to successfully host The Soweto Open and various Davis Cup Tie’s as a result of the refurbishment.

To sustain the stadium, Tennis South Africa launched a development project at the complex which became a flagship hub for its successful development programme.

The programme is part of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Schools Tennis Initiative and when the ITF together with CAT (Confederation of African Tennis) decided to host a training camp prior to staging a CAT 12 & Under tournament in Botswana, the best boy and girl 12 & U from Arthur Ashe were invited to participate.

Jansmith Moeng and Amukelani Mokane were selected and will travel to Botswana this week for ;

• Training Camp to be held from 12 to 14 September 2013 , in Gaborone and there after the
ITF/CAT African Junior Circuit 2013 – Leg 1 Gaborone – Botswana (Grade 2) Tournament will be held from 15 to 18 September 2013

The juniors will be coached on tour by Moses Nthuping.


Auckland, New Zealand - Kevin Anderson, South Africa’s top tennis player who is currently ranked 21 in world tennis, surprised the Springboks at their first training session in Auckland on Tuesday afternoon.

Kevin meets Jean de Villiers and coach Heyneke Meyer.

Springbok player Eben Etzebeth with Kevin Anderson.

Springbok wing, Bryan Habana with South Africa’s number one ranked tennis player Kevin Anderson.
Picture by: SARU

Anderson is currently in New Zealand to undergo treatment for an injury. He will be attending the Springboks’ fourth match in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, against the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, which will also be his first Bok Test.

The 27-year-old Anderson, whose highest world ranking was 19th a month ago, is based in the USA. His next tournament is in Japan and he decided on injury rehabilitation in Auckland as this is where his physiotherapist is based.

The Boks enjoyed having Anderson at their training session, especially the three locks in the squad. At 2.03m, Anderson is only a few millimetres shorter than Eben Etzebeth.

Although Etzebeth – 30kg heavier than the tennis ace – will do more damage at the rucks, he professed with a smile that his serve, volley and backhand are probably not as good as Anderson’s.

The Springboks had a good run at Western Springs, home of the famous Ponsonby Rugby Club, which is one of the oldest clubs in New Zealand.

The match 23 for Saturday’s Test will be named on Wednesday afternoon, while the All Blacks is scheduled to name their side only on Thursday.


NEW YORK – Lucas Sithole signalled a peak of his career with a maiden grand slam titles over local favourite and world number one David Wagner in a scintillating three set match. This was also a second victory over Wagner in the same week and a record fourth this year by Sithole.

Sithole’s epoch-making appearance was a first for an African and South African at a major ITF event. Signs were already there during the round robin phase of the event with the world no. 3 posting a victory over the American world no. 1. Sithole started the final on a jittery note with David Wagner stringing four games consecutively in the first set. Sithole regained composure via a service break in the second set to lead 4-3, before leading 5-3 and ultimately sealing the jovial ordeal with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory for his fourth win over Wagner this year, to complete a memorable Grand Slam maiden win.

“I was confident coming into the final,” said Sithole after ending Wagner’s bid for a third successive US Open singles title. “I’d like to thank the supporters and also David for sharing the experience with me on court. I really enjoy playing against him. He is a great player, one of the best in the quads.”

“Airports Company South Africa congratulates Lucas on an inspiring win. The company is especially proud to see how its partnership with WTSA has developed and grown talent over the nine-year period since it started sponsoring the sport. WTSA is developing world-class players and has put South Africa on the global map of wheelchair sporting talent,” says Bongani Maseko, Managing Director of Airports Company South Africa.

Lucas arrives back on Flight AA 6554(Arrival Time 06h55 from Heathrow)

In celebration of Lucas’s victory, and to welcome him home, we, together with the Deputy Minister of t Minister of Woman, Children, and Persons with a Disability, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu would like to invite all media houses to a press conference to share this momentous celebration with all of us.

Lucas Sithole Welcome Press Conference:
Time: 08h00
Venue: Airports Company South Africa - Media Centre, International Arrivals Hall - OR Tambo Airport
RSVP: Bianca Morkel – pr@tennis.co.za or by phone on 083 386 4002
Contact onsite: Bruce Davidson 083 212 2401

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
Airports Company South Africa is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa. The company is committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme and through this partnership, we wish to produce more champions like Lucas ahead of the 2016 Paralympic Games. Airports Company South Africa would like to encourage more young people to be inspired by Lucas’s achievement and get involved in the sport.

For more information about training and wheelchair tennis as a sport, please contact Siyabulela Nkachela 0826793772 or email siya@tennis.co.za or please visit: www.tennis.co.za


Johannesburg, South Africa - Transnet’s Mapaseka “Speedsta” Makhanya is celebrating.
The 28-year-old runner won the Pretoria leg of the SPAR Women’s Challenge series at Supersport Park on Saturday to ensure that, with one race to go, it is almost impossible for any other runner to overtake her and win the Nissan Micra that will be handed over to the winner of the 2013 SPAR Grand Prix.

A record breaking finish by Mapaseka Makhanya on Saturday 31 August, at Supersport Park.
Picture by: Reg Caldecott

Makhanya won the Pretoria race in a record time of 33:37 minutes to earn 30 Grand Prix points. She now has a total of 97 points – 29 ahead of her nearest rival, former Grand Prix winner Irvette van Zyl, who has 68 points. The only way for Van Zyl to overtake Makhanya would be if the Transnet runner missed the final race in Johannesburg on October 13, and Van Zyl won the maximum 30 points by winning the race at the Wanderers in a record time.

“I’m really excited about the thought of winning a car,” said a beaming Makhanya. “It really is something different and special. I can’t wait to collect the keys and drive away in my brand new motor car.”

The Kalmer sisters – Rene and Christine – are in joint third position, with 63 points. Last year’s Grand Prix winner Rene Kalmer has had a year plagued by injury and illness. She was unable to run the Port Elizabeth race because of an injury she sustained in the Boston Marathon on April 15. However, she appears to be on her way back to her best, finishing second to Makhanya on Saturday, also inside the record she set in 2011. “It’s been a hard year,” said Kalmer. “But I’m feeling good again and happy with my running. I’m back in the groove. I want to finish in the top three in the Grand Prix,” said Kalmer.

Van Zyl, who has also battled with injury since the London Marathon in April, was delighted to be back among the top Grand Prix contenders. “I’ve had a knee injury and a numb foot, but the knee is all right now, and I’m getting treatment for the foot. I was so happy to be able to complete the race on Saturday without stopping. My third place felt like a win, and it was such a bonus that I finished inside Rene’s record,” she said.

The Grand Prix runner-up will receive R30 000, and the third-placed runner will receive R17 500.


Johannesburg South Africa - Slovenia have announced their best possible team to face South Africa next weekend in their crucial Europe/Africa Zone Group 1 First Round Play-Off Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Tie.

The tie to be played from 13-15 September will be staged at the Park Tivoli in the Slovenian Capital, Ljubljana. The tie will be played on red clay outdoors. The venue has changed from the previously announced TS Bezigrad also in Ljubljana.

Slovenia’s non-playing captain Blaz Trupej nominated three of his four best possible players for their home tie. They are; Grega Zemlja, Blaz Kavcic, Blaz Rola and Janez Semrajc.
Slovenia’s second highest ranked player, Algaz Bedene (ranked 106) has not been included in the teams line up due to injury.

South Africa will be without their top player Kevin Anderson who made himself unavailable for the tie and the injured Izak Van Der Merwe.

The teams announced are;

Grega Zemlja (singles 62; doubles 311)
Blaz Kavcic (singles 126; doubles 422)
Blaz Rola (singles 217; doubles 481)
Janez Semrajc (singles 493; doubles 1137)
Captain: Blaz Trupej

South Africa
Rik De Voest (singles 162; doubles 199)
Raven Klaasen (doubles 62)
Ruan Roelofse (singles 513; doubles 154)
Dean O’Brien (singles 577; doubles 638)
Nikala Scholtz (singles 639; doubles 844)
Captain: John Laffnie de Jager

South Africa is ranked 34 and Slovenia is ranked 39 on the Davis Cup world rankings. Head to head South Africa lead Slovenia 1-0. South Africa beat Slovenia 4-1 at home at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Soweto in April 2012.

Due to financial issues, the Tie will not be broadcast live on television in South Africa.

Ian Smith, CEO of Tennis South Africa said Slovenia like so many countries around the world were battling financially to host Davis Cup Tie’s. “With the poor economic climate and heavy restrictions placed by the International Tennis Federation on domestic sponsors for home Davis Cup Tie’s countries around the world out of the World Group battle like South Africa to host Tie’s. The Slovenian authorities confirmed with my office that they not only had to change their venue this past week but were unable to negotiate with their local television broadcasters to broadcast the Tie due to financial problems. South Africa rely on the host nation to broadcast the Tie so we can take the feed from that broadcaster to show the Tie on our networks. It unfortunate we won’t be able to as a result.”


Johannesburg, South Africa – Joburg’s most beautiful road race; the SPAR Women’s Challenge, has moved to an exciting new venue.

(L-R) James Moloi President Central Gauteng Athletics, Mapaseka Makhanya SPAR Grand Prix leader, Martin Webber Marketing Director SPAR South Rand, Irvette Van Zyl Defending Champion of the SPAR Joburg Race, and Leon Swanepoel Race Director, all toast to the new improved SPAR Joburg Race. The launch took place at the Wanderers; the new race venue.

Top runners Mapaseka Makhanya and Irvette Van Zyl with their race numbers for the Joburg leg of the SPAR Womens Challenge, taking place on the 13th October 2013 at the Wanderers.
Pictures by: Reg Caldecott

After many years at Old Parktonians in Randburg, the race, which takes place on Sunday October 13, has moved to the elegant Wanderers Club in Illovo.

Created by long-time SPAR Challenge runner, Sonja Laxton; the 10km signature race route takes the runners along Corlett Drive and Oxford Road as far as Riviera Road in Killarney, before zigzagging back through some of Johannesburg’s leafiest suburbs.
The 5km route meanders through the plush suburbs of Illovo, Melrose, Birdhaven and Atholl-Oaklands, giving runners a chance of peeking at some of the most beautiful gardens in Johannesburg.

“They are lovely routes,” said the evergreen Sonja Laxton, who will be running her 80th SPAR Challenge race in October. “I do most of my training in this area, and I think all the runners will enjoy the new 10km route. It is not as challenging as the previous route. There are a few longish uphill drags, but generally it is quite a gentle route, and I think the layman runner will appreciate it. “You run past some beautiful gardens as well as the Killarney golf course and there are lots of trees. The jacarandas may be out by then, which makes it all even prettier.”

She said she was excited about running her 80th Challenge race. “I’ve always enjoyed the SPAR races,” she said. “Women’s races are a lot of fun. The winner has the satisfaction of being the first across the finishing line, instead of coming after a bunch of men, and there is always a very good vibe at the SPAR races. They really are something to look forward to. I plan my year’s training around the SPAR races,” she said.

“I think they have done a lot to get women involved in running. Women who might have been a bit wary of running in a mixed race feel more comfortable about running in a women only race.” She said the standard of running was also very high. “You get the cream of the crop running in the SPAR races. In fact, it is almost like five national championships spread across the country.”

The Johannesburg Challenge is the last of the five Challenge races that make up the SPAR Grand Prix, with the runner earning the most points from the five races winning a Nissan Micra. Mapaseka Makhanya has all about claimed the title, as she has been consistently climbing the leaderboard, and placed first in the Pretoria leg this past Saturday in a record-breaking time.
Apart from the new route, there have been some other exciting changes. For instance, you have a chance to win a Nissan Micra car, simply by taking part in the race. As runners complete the race, the lucky draw slip on their number will be torn off and automatically entered for the draw. Also, there are prizes worth about R200 000 to be won.

Schools with the most entries will win Mecer laptops and accessories donated by Mustek Electronics, and the very popular Bring-a-Friend competition offers runners the chance to win New Balance running shoes worth R1000. As always is the most important beneficiary of the race, Reach for Recovery, who will receive a portion of proceeds from the SPAR Joburg Challenge entries.

In addition, the first 15 000 entrants will each receive a New Balance SPAR Challenge t-shirt on registration, and the first 15 000 finishers will be given a medal and a goody bag.

Online entries opened on August 1 and close on September 27, but late entries will be accepted between October 10 and 13. Online entries are available at www.sparwomensrace.co.za

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