WOLMARANS AND SAMMONS LIFT SUN CITY CROWNS

Sun City, South Africa - Fritz Wolmarans and Michelle Sammons are the newly crowned King and Queen of Sun City.

Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) and Michelle Sammons (RSA) were crowned the Sun City Futures 1 Champions on Saturday at Sun City in the North West Province.


The two South African’s captured double titles at the Sun City Futures 1 at Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure on Saturday.

Wolmarans won his first title since 2012 when he beat second seeded Tucker Vorster of South Africa 3-6 6-3 7-6 (3) in a mammoth Centre Court thriller. Both finalists, the biggest servers in the tournament, battled for over two and a half hours before the top seed won the title on his first match point in the final set tie breaker.

“I went into the match knowing I had to serve well and give myself the best chance of breaking early in the match. Tucker is a big server and by far he was going to be my biggest challenge all week. But I felt good about my game and made the most of the big points which made the difference” said Wolmarans after his victory.

Wolmarans made a slow start which resulted in him losing the first set. “I had a rough year last year and this year have been playing well. When I got into Sun City, I battled with the altitude and it was the same in the final. I made a slow tentative start but when I found my rhythm in the second set, and my serve was on target knew I was in with a chance.”

“It’s great to win a title after so long. I needed it as it came at the right time to give me the confidence I have been looking for” said Wolmarans.

In the women’s singles, third seeded Michelle Sammons won her first career Futures title upsetting second seeded Natasha Fourouclas also of South Africa 2-6 7-5 6-4.

It was a grueling 2 hour 43 minute battle of testing nature for both players. Sammons said that she had a lot of respect for her opponent. “Natasha is a good player, and she makes a lot of balls and makes you work hard.” And hard Sammons sure did work for the title.

Fourouclas started strongly winning the opening set losing only two games in 49 minutes. In the second set, Sammons broke serve in the second game to go up 2-0 but Fourouclas promptly broke back to level. The set then went with serve until the eleventh game when Sammons broke and held served to win the set 7-5 and split sets. In the final set Sammons raced to a 3-1 lead and maintained that lead throughout.

The KwaZulu-Natal based Sammons has enjoyed good form all week. Sammons upset top seed and fellow Fed Cup squad team mate Madrie le Roux in the semifinals and after that win said that she felt confident for the title. “I had a lot of confidence in my own game going into the final. It’s been a good week and I have played some good tennis and was ready to give my all in the final.”

Sammons said that the victory meant a lot to her. “I have put a lot of hard work getting to this point. All I want to do is play tournaments and so to finally win my first Futures is a dream come true. I really have had a blessed week and hope to carry my form over to the next two events.”

In the men’s doubles final, Wolmarans won a double when he teamed up with Davis Cup team mate, Ruan Roelofse to upset top Swede team Jacob Adaktusson and Milos Sekulic 6-1 6-4. .

The women’s doubles title went to top seeds Michelle Sammons and Chanel Simmonds. Sammons and Simmonds beat fourth seeds and former African Junior Champions, Ilze Hattingh and Madrie le Roux 7-5 6-3.

The second tournament of the Sun City Futures series, The Sun City Futures 2 starts Monday 2 June with the final scheduled for Saturday 7 June.


ITS AN ALL SOUTH AFRICAN SUN CITY FUTURES FINAL

Sun City, South Africa - South Africa are guaranteed of winning both the men’s and women’s singles titles of the Sun City Futures on Saturday.

On Friday, in warm winter North West weather, both the two top seeds in the men’s and women’s singles won through to the final and all four players are from the host country.

In Friday’s semifinals, Fritz Wolmarans, the men’s favorite once again dominated with his big game when he beat fourth seed Jacob Adaktusson of Sweden 6-4 6-3. In the second semifinal Tucker Vorster, seeded two battled over 2 hours and 7 minutes to win through to his second futures final, beating American third seed Tyler Hochwalt 7-6 (5) 7-5. Both Wolmarans and Vorster go into the final without losing a set all week.

Vorster admitted that his semifinal was a “very tough encounter” and said that Hochwalt’s big game didn’t allow him to get into any groove. “Compared to my previous matches this week, I didn’t feel I had good rhythm out there today. I served well and that probably made the difference and got me through.”

Vorster had only one break point against him throughout the match. The first set went with serve into the tie-breaker and suddenly Vorster found himself 3-1 down. Vorster then played a string of solid points and got the mini break on the Hochwalt’s serve. Vorster then held serve to win the breaker 7-5 giving him the opening set. In the second set, Vorster got the break in the tenth game at 5-5 and then served out for the set winning the match 7-6 (5) 7-5.

Vorster and Wolmarans have played each other once before as juniors in the under 14 age group. Vorster lost that match in two sets and will be hoping to get revenge come Saturday in his second Futures final. The last final Vorster reached was in Turkey in last year which he lost.

In the women’s singles third seed Michelle Sammons shocked top seed Madrie Le Roux in an all South African semifinal 2-6 6-4 6-4. It was a grueling 2 hour 41 minutes battle which displayed true test of character. After losing the opening set, Sammons regrouped and settled. “There were a lot of close games in the first set and Madrie hits a big ball so I said to myself I need to play the pace and rhythm of the match which lifted my game, gave me the advantage to win the big points.”

Sammons will be playing in her first Futures final on Saturday. “I haven’t played Natasha before, she is a consistent player and I respect her a lot and am looking forward to the battle and hopefully I can play well and deliver in the final.”

Second seed Natasha Fourouclas seems to have found her true form and was never troubled by in form Vanja Klaric of Serbia in her semifinal. Fourouclas played a smart dominating game beating Klaric 6-2 6-1. After a tough three set opening round win against Cape Town’s Katie Poluta, Fourouclas has not been too challenged en route to the final. “I have been improving all week and I am feeling real confident. Vanja came into the tournament in good form and I was ready for a tough battle. But I played real well today, didn’t miss much and won the important points.”

Fourouclas has never won a Futures final but the Sun City final is her fifth final. “I am hoping to get over the jinx on Saturday and win my first pro title. It’s been tough being the bridesmaid, I want to be the bride and a win at home will be fabulous” she said.

The final of the Sun City Futures 1 will be played at Sun City from 10h00 with the women’s singles final followed by the men’s singles final.

Order of play (Saturday 31 May 2014)

10h00

Women’s Singles final

2-Natasha Fourouclas (RSA) vs 3-Michalle Sammons (RSA)

Followed by

Men’s Singles final

1-Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs 2- Tucker Vorster (RSA)


SOUTH AFRICANS DOMINATING AT SUN CITY

Sun City, South Africa - Top men’s seed Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa won his much anticipated quarter finals clash against fellow Davis Cup team mate Ruan Roelofse in Sun City on Thursday. It took two tie breakers before Wolmarans could claim victory beating sixth seeded Roelofse 7-6 (2) 7-6 (4) on Friday, Wolmarans will battle against fourth seeded Swede Jacob Adaktusson in the last four. Adaktusson beat eighth seed Damon Gooch of South Africa 6-4 6-3 and goes into his match against Wolmarans having not lost a set all week.

Second seed Tucker Vorster of South Africa in action in the quarter finals of the Sun City Futures 1 being played in North West Province. Vorster beat Brazilian seventh seed Augusto Laranja 6-4 6-3 to reach the semifinals on Friday where he will play third seed Tyler Hochwalt of USA.


Second seed Tucker Vorster of South Africa also qualified for Fridays semifinals with a 6-4 6-3 win over seventh seed Augusto Laranja of Brazil. Vorster gave credit to his opponent saying “I felt that I played a solid game against Augusto who gave it to me, I had to be very sharp especially in the first set, but overall I feel that I played very well.” Vorster, in his semifinal match will go up against third seed Tyler Hochwalt. Hochwalt battled past Swedish fifth seed Milos Sekulic 7-6 (7) 7-6 (4) in his last eight match.

Vorster admitted that Hochwalt would be a tough opponent on Friday. “I’ve never played Tyler before, we will be playing for the first time tomorrow.” added Vorster.

In the women’s singles three of the four top seeds have qualified for Fridays semifinals. Tournament favorite, Madrie Le Roux seems settled in at Sun City after beating Ani Vangelova of Bulgaria, the seventh seed 6-2 7-5. In her opening round Le Roux struggled against national junior champion Katie Poluta winning in three grueling sets but going into her semifinal since her opener she hasn’t dropped a set. On Friday Le Roux will come up against third seed fellow South African Michelle Sammons.
Sammons was a comfortable 6-3 6-2 winner over fifth seed American Stephanie Kent.

In the bottom half of the draw the dream run of junior Vanja Klaric continues. Unseeded Klaric from Serbia who trains in Potchefstroom shocked American Casey Robinson sixth seed in round 1 and today beat unseeded South African Caitlin Herb 6-2 6-2 to earn her first ever semifinal berth in a futures event. On Friday Klaric will have to be in fine form if she hopes to beat second seed Natasha Fourouclas. Fourouclas claimed her semifinal spot with a convincing 6-1 6-4 victory over eighth seed Amelie Intert of Germany.

It will be the first meeting between Fourouclas and Klaric but the second seed feels confident about her chances on Friday “Vanja and I haven’t played each other in a match but we have practiced together so we know one another’s game. Vanja is a talented player on the rise and I am looking forward to our battle on Friday. I will stick to my game as I have so far and it hasn’t let me down, I will give it my all!” said Fourouclas.


SEEDS MOVE INTO TO SUN CITY FUTURES QUARTER FINALS

Sun City, South Africa - All the top eight men’s seeds qualified for Thursday’s quarter finals of the Sun City Futures 1 being played in North West.

Top seed Fritz Wolmarans of South Africa in action on round two at the Sun City Futures 1 being played in North West Province. Wolmarans beat compatriot Benjamin Janse Van Rensburg 6-4 6-2 to reach the quarter finals on Wednesday where he will play sixth seed Ruan Roelofse of South Africa.

Top seed Madrie Le Roux of South Africa in action on round two at the Sun City Futures 1 being played in North West Province. Le Roux beat Australian Maria Knott 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter finals on Wednesday where she will play seventh seed Ani Vangelova of Bulgaria.

Photo credit: BLD Communications.


The only seeded men’s player to battle through to the last eight was fifth seed Milos Sekulic of Sweden. Sekulic needed 3 hours and 39 minutes to oust South African junior Francois Kellerman of Cape Town 7-6 (4) 6-7 (5) 7-6 (5) to meet third seeded American Tyler Hochwalt for a place in the semifinals. Hochwalt, coached by former South African pro Chris Haggard, beat Tuki Jacobs of Namibia 6-4 6-2 in round two.

Top seed Fritz Wolmerans of South Africa once again dominated with his big serve putting out compatriot Benjamin Janse Van Rensburg 6-4 6-2. It was a good win for Wolmerans considering Van Rensburg is playing some of the best tennis of his career having being a surprise finalist in last weekend’s Wilson R100 000 Challenge in Johannesburg.
“ I am very happy that I won, I am now one step closer to the finish. I’m satisfied with the way I played, I gave it my best. I haven’t played in the country in a few years and it’s good to be back. It was also my first time playing Benjamin but I did well” said Wolmerans.

Wolmerans will have to pull out all the stops in Thursday’s quarter final when he plays fellow Davis Cup team mate, Ruan Roelofse. Roelofse, seeded six made short work of his second round match trouncing Ronak Maija of India 6-2 6-2.

The top seed feels his chances are good at Sun City. “I think I stand a pretty good chance especially since I am 1st seed, however there are lots of very good players here, the likes of Ruan Roelofse and Tucker Vorster amongst others. So I will just have to give my best on all matches.”

Second seed Tucker Vorster was an easy 6-2 6-4 winner over Zimbabwean Mark Finn and will face seventh seeded Augusto Laranja of Brazil in the quarterfinals.

The fourth South African to make it through to the last eight is Damon Gooch seeded eight who will play Sweden’s Jacob Adaktusson the fourth seed on Thursday.

In the women’s singles top seed Madrie le Roux finally found her true form when she beat Australian Maria Knott 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals. Le Roux will next meet seventh seed Ani Vangelova of Bulgaria. Vangelova beat Chelsea Te Tai of New Zealand 6-2 6-1 in round two.

South Africa’s Caitlin Herb, unseeded caused the only upset of the day when she came from behind to shock fourth seed Alexandra Riley of the USA 1-6 7-5 6-3. Herb now plays Serbian Vanja Klaric in the last eight.

Klaric is familiar with the North West conditions as she trains out of the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy in Potchefstroom. Klaric, winner of last week’s Wilson R100 000 Challenge shocked sixth seeded American Casey Robinson on Monday in round one.

The remaining players to make the quarterfinals are South African’s (2) Natasha Fourouclas and (3) Michelle Sammons plus (5) Stephanie Kent (USA) and (8) Amelie Intert (Ger).

The quarterfinals will be played on Thursday at Sun City for 10h00.


SOUTH AFRICANS KEEP HEADS UP IN THE SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa – The men’s and women’s top seeds won their opening rounds of the Sun City Futures 1 in North West Province on Tuesday.

Third seed South African Michelle Sammons in action in the first round of the women’s Sun City Futures 1 on Monday. Sammons beat Anais Isart of Spain 6-2 6-0 on Tuesday.

Sixth seed South African Ruan Roelofse powers his way through to the second round in the men’s Sun City Futures 1 in Sun City. Roelofse beat unseeded South African Lance Cohen 6-4 7-6 (6) on Tuesday.

Pictures by: BLD Communications


In the men’s singles, tournament favourite Fritz Wolmerans of South Africa had little trouble and needed less than an hour to beat fellow South African Reinhardt Trollip 6-2 6-0. Tall and strong Wolmerans used his big serve to full effect in dominating throughout.
Meanwhile men’s sixth seed, Ruan Roelofse also of South Africa had a tougher first round against countryman Lance Cohen who he overcame with a final score of 6-4 7-6 (6). “I played very well considering the conditions. As Much as I thought I was used to the conditions, today they felt harsh making it tough on myself” said Roelofse following victory.
“I always feel more support when playing at home more than pressure, also I feel that having played and won the Wilson R 100 000 Challenge last week has given me some advantage as I had some really tough games last week that put me in positions you cannot recreate in practice.”
Other South African men to win through to round two on Tuesday were second seed Tucker Vorster, eighth seeded Damon Gooch and wild card Benjamin Janse Van Rensburg.

Augusto Laranja of Brazil seeded seven lost only two games in beating local Johannes Mybugh 6-1 6-1 and now meets Zimbabwean Benjamin Lock in round two.

In the women’s singles, top seeded South African Madrie Le Roux had to come from behind and pull out all the stops in her 1-6 6-3 6-4 win over current under 18 National Junior Champion, Katie Poluta.

Third seeded Michelle Sammons kept the Rainbow nation flag flying high with an easy win over unseeded Anais Isart of Spain 6-2 6-0. “I had a bit of a struggle at first but found my range, and my game improved. I actually thought my opponent played very but I felt I was more focused and patient” said Sammons. “It is always great playing at home, the support is great and the playing conditions here at Sun City are pleasant.” Added Sammons.

Round two of the tournament will be played Wednesday from 10h00 at Sun City.


SEEDS OPEN IN STYLE AT SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa - In picture perfect weather at “Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure”, the seeded players in action on day one cruised into round two of the Sun City Futures 1.

Fourth seed Jacob Adaktusson of Sweden in action on Monday at the Sun City Futures 1 played in Sun City, North West Province. Adaktusson beat unseeded Peter Bleach of South Africa 6-2 6-2 in the first round.

Second seed South African Natasha Fourouclas beat unseeded fellow South African Jade Pondicas in the first round of the Sun City Futures 1. Fourouclas beat Pondicas 6-0 6-0 in the first round on Monday.
Pictures by: BLD Communications


In the men’s singles, Swedes Jacob Adaktusson and Milos Sekulic, seeded 4 and 5 respectively lost only six games between them in beating their first round opponents. Adaktusson was an easy 6-2 6-2 winner over South Africa’s Peter Bleach whilst Sekulic needed just 68 minutes to beat another South African JD Malan, the reigning under 16 National Champion 6-0 6-2.

Second seed in the women’s singles Natasha Fourouclas of South Africa made light work of her opening round 1 opponent, fellow South African Jade Pondicas. Fourouclas beat Pondicas 6-0 6-0 and sent out a strong warning that she is at Sun City to take care of some serious business.
“I played a very clinical match. I felt I played well out there today and gave a solid all round no unforced errors performance” said Fourouclas. “Jade and I are good friends, we train together at the same Academy in Bedfordview and in practice she gives me a run for my money but matches are different, I am here on serious business and did business well today.”

Fourouclas said that she was happy to be back in South Africa playing international tennis. “It’s always good for us local players to come home and play tournaments. These Futures are what we need more of. It gives us pro’s a greater chance and gives great opportunities for our juniors and up and coming players.”

South African Fed Cup player, Ilze Hattingh playing in her last year as a junior was a 6-1 6-1 win over countrywoman Zani Barnard. It was Hattingh’s first match since February after recovering from a fractured rib. Hattingh now in round two plays Fourouclas which promises to be a mouthwatering encounter.

Lee Barnard, twin sister of Zani gave the Barnard family some joy when she won through to round two beating veteran South African Julie Mansour 6-2 6-3.

Other South African’s to win through to round two on Monday in the men’s singles were Francois Kellerman and in the women’s singles Nadine De Villiers and Caitlin Herb.


WILD CARDS ANNOUNCED FOR SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa - Tennis South Africa (TSA) announced the wild cards for next week’s Futures 1 international tennis tournament to be played at Sun City.

The wild cards were awarded after consultation between TSA and tournament promoters Egalite Promotions and are awarded at the discretion of both parties.

The men’s and women’s tournament will be played from Monday 26 to 13 May.

The wild cards are as follows;

Men:
BJ Janse van Rensburg (Gauteng Central)
• Matthew Rossouw (Gauteng North)
• Reinhardt Trollip (Gauteng North)
• Brandon Laubser (Gauteng East)

Women:
• Rouxanne Janse van Rensburg (Boland)
• Zani Barnard (Gauteng North)
• Katie Poluta (Western Province)
• Lenice van Eyk (Gauteng North)

BJ Janse van Rensburg was awarded the wild card in the men’s singles due to his excellent run at the Wilson R100 000 Challenge being played at the German Club north of Johannesburg this weekend where van Rensburg reached the final.

In the women’s singles, Poluta was given the wild card as part of her rewards for winning under 18 National Championships in Bloemfontein earlier this year.


ROELOFSE & KLARIC CLINCH WILSON CHALLENGE TITLES

Johannesburg, South Africa - South African Davis Cup player Ruan Roelofse clinched the Wilson R100 000 Challenge title at the German Club north of Johannesburg on Saturday.

Top seeded Roelofse of Cape Town, needed 1 hour 27 minutes to end the giant killing run of fourth seeded Benjamin Janse van Rensburg of Pretoria 7-6 (3) 6-3 in the final.

Van Rensburg in the semifinal upset second seed Tucker Vorster also of Pretoria 7-6 (6) 7-6 (5).

Roelofse said that he was happy to take the title especially on the eve of the Sun City Futures which starts at the North West Province Kingdom of pleasure on Monday. “I used the Wilson event as an important warm up for the Sun City Futures. I didn’t lose a set all week and feel good about my game going into the Futures next week.”

Janse van Rensburg, despite losing felt good about how he played all week. “Getting to a final is always great and beating Tucker in the semis was big! Ruan today played the important points better and his serve was on target so it made it difficult for me to break through.”

As a consolation, due to Janse van Ransburg’s excellent run this past week, Tennis South Africa awarded him with a wildcard into next week’s Futures at Sun City.

The women’s title was a battle royal between the tournament’s top two seeds, Michelle Sammons of KwaZulu-Natal and Vanja Klaric of North West Province. Eventually the match that started late afternoon finished in under lights after a marathon 2 hours 41 minutes. Seventeen year old junior star Klaric upset Sammons 6-4 5-7 7-6 (7-3). Klaric, from Serbia trains out of the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy at NWU-PUKKE in Potchefstroom.

Ruan Roelofse made it a double when he captured the men’s doubles with Benjamin Janse Van Rensburg. The women’s doubles went to sister combination Hayley Jeffery and Kim Peters both of Gauteng Central.


TENNIS SOUTH AFRICA LAUNCHES INTERACTIVE TENNIS PROGRAMME

Johannesburg, South Africa - Tennis South Africa (TSA) will be launching a new monthly programme next week that will feature some of the leading names in the sport.
Former players Robbie Koenig, currently a world-renowned television commentator, Jeff Coetzee, who is coach to the Colombian Davis Cup team, and Michael de Jongh, former coach to Amanda Cozeter and Mary Pierce, will guide viewers through the latest news and behind-the scenes intrigue of the tennis tour.
The programme will be shown via streaming with the first show going out on Tuesday, May 27 at 7pm. Viewers will be able to connect through the TSA website (www.tennissa.co.za) by clicking on the “Game, Set and Match” icon.
It will run for about 45 minutes and if you miss the live streaming, you will be able to download it from the “Video On Demand” section in the Archive.
The programme will be anchored by Michael de Jongh and he will be joined by former SA commentator Mike Dunk, who will conduct many of the interviews.
As far as the international scene is concerned Robbie Koenig will be doing an ATP Tour wrap while Jeff Coetzee will be conducting behind-the-scenes- interviews with players to learn about their personal lives how they prepare for matches and major tournaments.
The programme will also encompass coaching tips, discussions on the rules, product, TSA Reward Card, wheelchair tennis, schools news, club news, in-studio debates, nutrition, TSA results updates and highlights from local tournaments.
Streamit 360 is handling the portal and production for TSA, with TSA owning the streaming rights.


SUN CITY FUTURES PROVIDES OPPORTUNITY FOR TENNIS OFFICIALS

• Top lineup of tennis officials for Sun City events
• Development of top tennis officials high on the Tennis South Africa agenda

Sun City, South Africa - Tennis South Africa have named a top lineup of officials for the upcoming Sun City Futures Series to be played at the North West Province entertainment capital from 24 May to 13 June.

Iain Smith of Pretoria has been named as the Men’s Supervisor and Anton Rens of Cape Town as the Women’s Supervisor.

Both Smith and Rens are the most experienced and qualified officials on the continent and have both officiated internationally at all the majors as well as Davis and Fed Cup.

Tennis South Africa also confirmed they had recruited Algerian chair umpire, Tarek Safer for duty over the three weeks of tournament play.

The other chair umpires all from South Africa are; Mxolisi Matyolo (GE), Pieter Hoeksma (GN), Ivan Bridges (WP), George Phiri (GN), Abram Sehloho (GN), Steve Kgaphola (GE), Ephraim Motsiane (GE), Denerick October (WP), Jeremia Sithole (GE), Andrew Sethole (GN), Patrick Selepe (GC), Hendrik Modupe (GN), Tebogo Maleke (GC), Marcel Gouws (EP), Walter Sekhukununu (GN) and Ron Stirling (KZN)

While Tennis South Africa will be using 13 umpires in qualifying and 9 in the main draw each week, the officials will be rotated to ensure that all officials are given an opportunity to work during the 3 weeks.

Iain Smith head of officiating at TSA said the Futures was an important platform to develop officiating in South Africa. “We take pride in our officiating programme and we are recognised worldwide in a leader in the development and training of tennis officials.”

Smith explained that in order for officials to progress in their qualifications, they had to officiate a certain number of matches.

“There is also a balance of International Tennis Federation (ITF) Certified officials and National Certified officials on a weekly basis to assist the ITF certified officials to achieve their respective number of matches, while also working on the next group of officials whom TSA believe to be potential future ITF certified officials” added Smith.

Smith added that during the course of the Futures, the matches would provide practical experience and opportunities for on court evaluations of the officials. “During evenings, the group (attending) will be briefed and taken through general rules/regulations and officiating procedures.”

The following National officials form part of the TSA Bambanani/Star Trek Group, officials being groomed by TSA to become certified ITF officials;

Chair umpires; Marcel Gouws (EP), Hendrik Modupe (GN), Walter Sekhukununu (GN), Tebogo Maleke (GC), Jeremia Sethole (GE), Peter May (WP), Denerick October (BOL), Andrew Sethole (GN), Patrick Selepe (GC)
Referee; Morne Gouws (EP).


TENNIS BOSS LAID TO REST

Cape Town, South Africa - In a moving ceremony at the St Andrew’s Anglican Church in Newlands, Cape Town on Tuesday, former President of the South African Tennis Union (SATU) Johann Barnard was laid to rest.

johann1: Johann Barnard.


Accolades have been pouring in from all over the world for Barnard, who passed away on Sunday May 11.

Barnard administered tennis in South Africa through some tricky years from 1986 until 1991. His was a period in which South Africa had been suspended from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and players were discouraged from taking part in tournaments staged in the country.
Barnard also had to steer SATU through the unity talks facing all sporting bodies in the early 1990s in which took tough negotiating and essential concessions on both sides.
When the new body – Tennis South Africa – was formed Barnard took a back seat and retired from a sport to which he had devoted so much time and effort. Despite all the political impediments Barnard left tennis in the country in a very strong position as far as the nurturing of talent was concerned. He set up the programmes that produced the likes of Amanda Coetzer, Wayne Ferreira, Marcos Ondruska and Grant Stafford, some of the best players this country has produced.
“He made a big impression on me as a young aspiring professional tennis player, and was always very supportive and encouraging,” said Coetzer. “I honestly don’t think I would have had the same opportunities as a young player and my career would not have started out the way it did if it was not for his work and leadership in that wonderful period of South African tennis.
“He will be greatly missed.”
Ferreira expressed a similar sentiment. “He was instrumental in the growth of tennis in South Africa during his years as president. His focus and commitment to the game of tennis in general will also be missed.
“I have so many memories of the many times that I spent with Johann as a kid growing up inside the walls of Ellis Park. He was always looking out for our best interest of each kid and he definitely passed on his passion to me. I know that the tennis world will sorely miss him. “My condolences go out to his family.”

Johannes Barnard was born on January 30 1928 and he first attended school in Bloemhof and then moved to Pretoria where he went to Burgher Right Primary School and then Afrikaans HoerSeunskool – known popularly as “Affies”.
He attended the University of Stellenbosch where he studied for a BA. LLB and practised as a Senior Counsel.
Barnard was an avid sports lover and started playing tennis at Affies where he was a member of their 1st team. He continued at university and was on the Maatjies intervarsity team. While living in Pretoria he served as a club committee member and later was elected to the Northern Transvaal Tennis Association at Loftus Versveld for several years.

After moving to Cape Town Barnard continued to play tennis and committed his services to the Western Province Tennis Association, eventually taking over as chairman.
Barnard became President of SATU in 1986, succeeding Attie Horak, and instigated a successful Junior Squad under Russell Seymour’s coaching, which led to the emergence of the likes of Pieter Aldrich, Danie Visser, Wayne Ferreira, Pietie Norval, David Nainkin, Neil Broad, Gary Muller and was later instrumental in the development of Jeff Coetzee.

In 1989 he met with the ITF in Buenos Aires, Argentina to have South Africa reinstated into International tennis. He apparently made a very stirring and impressive plea for which even his adversaries congratulated him. Nonetheless he left disappointed. Two years later in 1991 SA were back in Davis and Federation Cup tennis.

On a personal level Barnard joined the Tollgate Group in 1968 and in 1982 was appointed CEO of Tollgate Holdings Limited. Under his guidance and with his ability to get the best out of his staff Tollgate grew in stature. By the time he retired in 1989, Barnard not only transformed Tollgate from the family controlled entity it had been but also created a diverse conglomerate ranked within the top 100 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

On April 8 this year Barnard broke his ankle and passed away suddenly after suffering a severe stroke.

He is survived by his wife, Margie, sons Pierre and Francois, daughters-in-law Michelle and Carol, stepson Mark Price, and grandchildren Lulu, Zac, Andrea, Daniel, Scarlett, Carla, Este, Joshua and Amy.


STRONG ENTRY FOR SUN CITY FUTURES

Sun City, South Africa - Next week, international tennis returns to Sun City in the North West Province when the Sun City Futures 1 will be played from 26-31 May.

The tournament is the first of three back to back international men’s and women’s events to be played simultaneously each week at the same venue.

The Futures 2 will be played from 2-7 June and Futures 3 from 9-14 June.

A strong entry of local and international players have entered the first Sun City Futures 1 including four of South Africa’s Davis Cup squad players namely Tucker Vorster, Ruan Roelofse, Nik Scholtz and Fritz Wolmerans. Two notable entries in the men’s tournament are the rising English star Joshua Milton who many claim to be the next Andy Murray British hope as well as up and coming American Tyler Hochwalt will also be making the trip to Sun City which is a huge boost for the tournament promoters. There will be players from 11 different countries represented in the men’s tournament.

The women’s draw is dominated by South Africa’s best players including South African number two Chanel Simmonds and her fellow Fed Cup team mates Madrie Le Roux and Natasha Fourouclas.

There are players representing 12 countries entered in the women’s draw including rising American Alexandra Riley and Stephanie Kent as well as former European junior champion Ani Vangelova of Bulgaria.

The seeds for the men’s and women’s Futures 1 will be announced on Wednesday.

Hardy Botha the Tournament Promoter of Egalite said that he was delighted with the strength of the entry. “It’s always good to host international players in South Africa, especially at Sun City which has over the years been a major attraction for tourists and a popular tournament venue. The field of players entered is top class and promises for some exciting tennis. The Futures series will also enable our rising South African players to earn world ranking points which will enable them to position themselves on the international rankings and assist them with their future careers.”

The qualifying rounds from the Futures 1 will be played on Saturday and Sunday 24 and 25 May with the main draw commencing Monday 26 May. The finals of the Futures 1 are scheduled for Saturday 31 May.


FORMER TENNIS PRESIDENT JOHANN BARNARD PASSES ON

Johannesburg, South Africa - Former tennis president Johann Barnard passed away in Cape Town on Sunday 11 May aged 86. Barnard who was recovering from an ankle injury sustained on 8 April passed away suddenly from a stroke.

Barnard from Cape Town was president of the South African Tennis Union (SATU) from 1986 to 1991. Prior to his presidency at SATU he served on the SATU council for ten years as president of Western Province Tennis.
During his Presidency at SATU Barnard played a key role in the transformation of tennis in South Africa working with the African National Congress (ANC) in creating the newly unified tennis body Tennis South Africa. Barnard was instrumental in securing the ATP World Tour End Year Doubles final for South Africa which was hosted in 1991 to 1993 at the Standard Bank Arena in Johannesburg.

Gavin Crookes, President of Tennis South Africa paid tribute to Barnard who he called a “loyal servant of the game”. “TSA express their sincere condolences to Margie Barnard and the family on their sad loss. Johann was in charge of the game in our country during the transition period and will be remembered for his sterling job in negotiating a smooth and successful transition of the former SATU to the present TSA.”

The funeral of Johann Barnard will take place on Tuesday 20 May at 14h30 at the St. Andrew’s Church, Palmboom Road, Newlands, Cape Town.

Messages of sympathy can be sent to Apartment B3, Woodside Retirement Village, 21 Norton Way, Rondebosch 7700 Cape Town South Africa or emailed to barmarglil@gmail.com
In lieu of flowers donations can be sent to St. Luke’s Hospice


SOUTH AFRICAN JUNIORS TO COMPETE IN THE AFRICA YOUTH GAMES

Johannesburg, South Africa - Tennis South Africa have named their junior players to be part of the South African team to compete in the 2nd Africa Youth Games.

Kris van Wyk (Boland)

Kris van Wyk (Boland)

Richard Thongoana (Gauteng Central)

Sarah Sarjoo (Gauteng Central)


The Africa Youth Games will be held in Gaborone, Botswana from 22 to 31 May 2014.

The tennis team will be part of 19 sporting codes making up the South African team. The Games are an important multi-code event serving as Africa’s preparation for the upcoming second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China later this year.

SASCOC President Gideon Sam said that the 2nd African Youth Games are very important for the future of South African sport. “We need to build our sport from the bottom up and as such, this event will go a long way to exposing our talented youngsters to international competition and giving them valuable experience.”

The holding camp for Team SA will be in Johannesburg on 19 May and the team will travel to Gaborone the following day to set up camp at the University of Botswana residence.

The South African tennis team is announced as follows;

Boys; Richard Thongoane (Gauteng Central) and Kris van Wyk (Boland)

Girls; Janet Koch (Boland), Sarah Sarjoo (Gauteng Central)

The team coach will be Patrick Tsunke (Gauteng East).


PHALULA CONSOLIDATES GRAND PRIX POSITION

Johannesburg, South Africa – Barefoot runner Diana-Lebo Phalula’s record-breaking victory at the Spar Women’s 10km Challenge at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth on Saturday has given her a massive headstart in this year’s Spar Grand Prix.

Diana-Lebo Phalula jumps for joy as she crosses the finish line first in her second successive victory at a SPAR Challenge race.
Pictures credit: Reg Caldecott


Maxed Elite’s Phalula, who became the fourth-fastest South African runner when she crossed the finishing line in 32.27 minutes, also won the Cape Town leg in record time. With bonus points for beating the previous year’s time in both races, she now has a massive 60 points on the leaderboard – 26 ahead of her nearest rival, Mapaseka Makhanya.
With Phalula holding a massive lead, the tussle is likely to be for second place, with several athletes closely bunched together. Boxer’s Makhanya, who was last year’s Grand Prix winner, finished fifth in Cape Town and third in Port Elizabeth and has a total of 34 points. She is just two points ahead of three times Grand Prix winner, Rene Kalmer of Modern Athlete. Kalmer finished eighth in Cape Town and second in Port Elizabeth. Two points behind her, with 30 points, is Nolene Conrad (Boxer), who finished third in Cape Town and ninth in Port Elizabeth.
Kalmer’s sister Christine is in fifth position, with 24 points, and Phalula’s sister Lebogang is five points behind her, in sixth place.
The Grand Prix rewards the top runners competing in the five Challenge races, which are held around South Africa. The winner will receive a Nissan Micra, and the runner-up R30 000. There are also prizes on offer to the top runners in the various age categories.
Only South Africans are eligible for Grand Prix points, so foreign runners like Ethiopians Hunduma Gemeda and Chelity Asefe, and Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Nyahora are not eligible for Grand Prix points.
After years of Nedbank dominance on the club leaderboard, the Green Team is playing second fiddle to Boxer, who top the club leaderboard with 118 points. Nedbank is in second place, with 91 points and Maxed Elite are in third, with 61 points.
While Phalula has said she is determined to run all five Challenge races so that she can drive away in a brand new car, her immediate focus will be on qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July in the 5000m and 800m events. Makhanya, who won her debut marathon last year, will also be turning her attention to road races in Europe, while Rene Kalmer is heading for the United States for some road races there.
The next Spar Challenge race takes place in Durban on August 24.


SUCCESSFUL TRAINING CAMP FOR SPAR NATIONAL NETBALL SQUAD

Pretoria, South Africa – Head coach of the SPAR National Netball Team Elize Kotze believes the players are well on track in their preparations for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.
The squad took part in a training camp at the Tuks High Performance centre from 25-29 April and Kotze said it had been an ideal opportunity to monitor the progress of the players and the success of the training programmes they were all following. “We had a few injuries and a couple of players were laid low by flu and bronchitis, but it was an ideal opportunity to see how the younger players were shaping up against the more senior players,” said Kotze.

“I am happy with the progress of the squad. There are always things to work on, but everyone is very committed and they are sticking to their individual fitness programmes.

She said visual skills coach Dr Sherylle Calder had been working with the players to improve their reaction time. Calder is a world authority, and has been credited with helping England and South Africa to win the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and 2007, and golfer Ernie Els to win the British Open in 2012.

“Sherylle is a former Protea hockey player and she knows all about the pressure of international sport,” said Kotze. “We know that having her working with the team will give them an edge. I am also very happy that the whole medical support team is coming together and this will be valuable for us as we prepare for the Commonwealth Games.”

Kotze said she was also very excited about the Netball Premier League (NPL), which gets under way next month, because it meant the top players would be playing high-level netball for six weeks. “All the SPAR Proteas and all the squad members will be playing. They are spread around the ten NPL teams and so the standard of play will be high. We will watch them closely, and the team for the Commonwealth Games will be announced after the NPL final,” she said.

The team will play a three match series against Scotland in Cape Town in June in preparation for Glasgow.


LAXTON BACK ON THE ROAD

Johannesburg, South Africa – Sonja Laxton completed her 81st Spar Women’s Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Saturday in a time of 57.12 minutes.

Sonja2.jpg


It was not her best time, but for fans of the runner who has more than 70 national titles to her name, it was a time to celebrate. On November 17 last year, Sonja was hit by a car during a training run. She suffered multiple fractures, including shoulders, elbows, ribs, ankle and spine, and spent some time in intensive care at the Milpark Hospital. Many thought she would never be able to run again, but Sonja’s indomitable spirit saw her back on the road in less than six months.
“It came as a surprise to me when I heard she was running,” said her husband, Ian, who is the manager of the Spar Grand Prix.
“We’d been on holiday in the Eastern Cape, and Sonja must have hidden her RAC clothes at the bottom of her suitcase, because we arrived in Port Elizabeth and she told me she was going to run.”
Despite a swollen ankle and a still painful shoulder, Sonja was the third grandmaster to finish, well ahead of the 70 minutes Ian had predicted.
Her daughter Kim finished in 16th place, in 36.13 minutes, and immediately made her way back to find her mother and escort her to the finish line.
“I’m so proud of Sonja,” said Ian. “And the time she did is amazing, when you remember how badly she was injured.”


WAGNER BEATS SOUTH AFRICA’S SITHOLE TO ACSA SA OPEN GLORY

Johannesburg, South Africa – American David Wagner ended his South African safari with a victory over Lucas Sithole in the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park on Saturday.
In a quads final pitting the world number one and two players against each other, it was the more experienced Wagner who won 6-2 6-3.
It was a double triumph for the American, who also beat Sithole in last week’s Gauteng Open on this Airports Company South Africa international series.
But he paid tribute to the young South African as a man rapidly becoming a force in the quads division.
“I knew Lucas would have a lot of support out there, and it’s phenomenal to see that kind of support in wheelchair tennis. It’s good that they could see him playing at his best at home. But for me, this is great because I lost in the semi-finals here last year to Lucas. I know Lucas will never give up in a match so I can’t let down my guard,” said Wagner.
Sithole lost his serve in the first game of each set, but did well to save three match points before eventually succumbing.
“David played very smart tennis. I knew he was going to go all out and I gave it my best, but it didn’t work out. It’s not great losing at home because this is our biggest tournament. But I’m happy for the organisers and sponsors because this is a great event. To get the top players here motivates our young players,” said Sithole.
The significance of having so many top seeds competing in this event was also not lost on Wagner.
“I love the sport and I love what’s going on in the sport, and in countries like South Africa. I love that I get to be a small part of that and to inspire people. As long as I feel competitive and I’m enjoying it, I’ll continue to play.”
In the men’s singles final, world number two Stephane Houdet of France beat British world number three Gordon Reid 6-3 6-3 to also claim an African double following his victory in last week’s Gauteng Open.
“I played smart. I won almost all of the break points and just lost my serve once. I gave him tough balls to play,” said Houdet.
Although both he and Reid felt they could’ve delivered better tennis.
“The level of the game could’ve been better. The altitude is tough when it comes to controlling the ball, and I think we both made too many mistakes.”
Reid had his opportunities, but failed to take advantage.
“I’m very disappointed, more with the standard of the tennis and not just the result. I had my chances but if you don’t take them against a player like Stephane you’re going to get punished, and that’s what happened,” he said.
The women’s singles final saw the only upset of the day when Aniek Van Koot of The Netherlands beat world number one Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany 6-4 4-6 6-4, with Ellerbrock suffering from dehydration after the titanic battle.
“This is quite special. I didn’t expect this considering how badly I was playing at the beginning of the tournament,” said Van Koot.
In the doubles, Wagner and Sarah Hunter won the quads doubles title, beating Antony Cotterill and Andrew Lapthorne 6-1 2-6 7-6 (3).
The men’s doubles final was won by Houdet and Frederic Cattaneo, who beat Nicolas Peifer and Reid 6-3 6-1. And the women’s doubles final saw South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane and Marjolein Buis of The Netherlands beat Van Koot and Lucy Shuker 6-0 6-1.


SITHOLE READY FOR WORLD NO. 1 WAGNER IN ACSA SA OPEN

Johannesburg, South Africa – It’s becoming one of the greatest rivalries in wheelchair tennis, and on Saturday another chapter will be written as South Africa’s Lucas Sithole and American David Wagner battle it out in the quads final of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park.
For the second week in succession, the respective world number one and two in their division clash in a final. Last week, in the Gauteng Open, it was world number one Wagner who beat Sithole.
They’ve now played each other 15 times, with Sithole only winning on four of those occasions. But significantly, all of those four wins were in 2013.
Sithole is growing in experience against a man who has dominated this division for over a decade. He beat Wagner in the final of the 2013 US Open, and he beat him in the semi-final of this tournament last year.
And their latest encounter will be broadcast live on SuperSport 8 (channel 208) from 09:00 on Saturday.
“I think this is going to be a really great rivalry for a number of years. They are both going to continue to improve and they’re both great competitors. It’s anyone’s guess what is going to happen,” said Sarah Hunter, who Sithole beat 6-3 4-6 7-5 in Friday’s semi-final of the SA Open. Wagner was ruthless in his 7-5 6-1 defeat of defending champion Andrew Lapthorne.
It was a tough semi-final for Sithole, but one that he believes has prepared him well for the challenge to come against Wagner.
“It was a tough match and I wasn’t prepared for it to be that long. Sarah played smart tennis and pushed me out of my comfort zone. But I’m happy with how I stayed focused the whole match,” said Sithole, who is aiming to be more aggressive against Wagner this time around.
“Against David I need to play him straight on his chair or move him to his forehand, because he has a very good backhand slice. I also need patience to rally with him, and make him move and work for the point. Then I’ll be good.”
Sithole is flying the SA flag on Saturday, with Kgothatso Montjane knocked out of the women’s singles by world number four Aniek van Koot, who beat her 6-3 6-4.
“There will always be that room for disappointment. I’m in a phase where I’m losing to top players ranked above me. But I’m just waiting for that breakthrough,” said Montjane.
And the South African appealed to the public to come and support the tournament on Saturday.
“People must come to support the finalists. It’s been a great tournament. We have such a lot of talent here. And it’s great for Lucas to be in the final. Good luck to him.”
The men’s singles final will see another tough encounter between French world number two Stephane Houdet and Britain’s world number three Gordon Reid.
And the women’s singles final also sees a big match between German world number one Sabine Ellerbrock and Van Koot from The Netherlands.

Live scoring available on www.tennissa.co.za

Photo caption:
Sithole48a.jpg – World number 2 and second seed Lucas Sithole of South Africa in action against Sarah Hunter (CAN) in the quads division during day 4 of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium on Friday, May 2, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Wagner48a.jpg – World no1 David Wagner in action during quads semi-final on day 4 of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium on Friday, May 2, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Wagner will meet South African no1 Lucas Sithole in Saturday’s final.
Vankoot43a.jpg – Second seed Aniek van Koot of the Netherlands in action against South African no1 Kgothatso Montjane in the womens semifinals played on Friday, May 2, 2014 at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium, Johannesburg.
Pictures credit: Reg Caldecott

News clip:
Lucas Sithole - http://we.tl/5YsXnDPsSx
Sabine Ellerbrock - http://we.tl/74HsEOSfVf
Aniek van Koot - http://we.tl/bUsJ7FB8t7
News clips credit: Ryan Toerien

For free to use pictures from the event please contact Reg Caldecott on regpics@lantic.net or 0837874749
For free to use sound bites from the event please contact Michael Vlismas on michaelv@iafrica.com or 0722428399
For free to use news clips from the event please contact Ryan Toerien on straydogmedia@mweb.co.za or 0824641856


WHY LUCAS SITHOLE IS WORLD NUMBERMATERIAL

Johannesburg, South Africa – Lucas Sithole fell under a train at the age of 12, losing both his legs and half of his right arm. And that’s exactly why in the world of quadriplegic wheelchair tennis, he is considered one of the lucky ones.

Lucas Sithole
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott


Sithole is ranked second in the world in the quads division, and this year has his sights set on unseating American world number one David Wagner, who has been the most dominant quads player for over a decade and is the South African’s biggest challenge in this week’s
Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park.
But it’s because of the nature of his disability that Sithole has a very good chance of doing so.
“Lucas had no spinal cord injury, like most quads players. He is an amputee, so this gives him quite an advantage,” says Canadian Sarah Hunter, herself one of the top wheelchair tennis players in the world and a close friend of Wagner’s.
“Most of us had spinal cord injuries. This means we have limited functionality in our hands, our wrists and our arms. And we’re missing certain abdominal muscles as well. But a player like Lucas has full arm and upper body function, so this makes him much stronger.”
Apart from his greater strength, one of the key benefits of this is that Sithole can change his grip during play, where most quads players have to strap the racquet to their hands and have a fixed grip for the entire match.
Another key difference is that quads players with spinal cord injuries have largely lost their capacity to sweat. During a physical sport such as tennis, this becomes a slippery slope for them in terms of hydration during a match.
“Sweat cools the body down, and we don’t have that. So playing in the heat is really a challenge for us,” says Hunter. “That’s why most quads matches are scheduled first up or late in the day. Hydration is also a challenge because we have to hydrate, but can’t drink too much. The whole preparation of taping your racquet to your hand takes times, so you don’t want to be going to the toilet during a match. We can’t drink too much, and need drinks with salt so we can retain water. But this also becomes a balancing act.”
These differences between Sithole and Wagner are seen in their styles of play. Wagner does not have as much raw strength, so relies on a silky touch and an incredible on-court strategy.
“David has such great touch. He eats, breathes and sleeps the strategy of tennis. He watches players like Federer and Nadal just to see their strategy and how they build a point,” says Hunter.
But with no legs, Sithole has his own challenges of balance in his wheelchair. He has two waterbottles that he straps to the front of his wheelchair to make up for the lack of forward weight.
“It just shows you that while we all might look the same, there are some very big differences,” says Hunter.
But in the mind of Sithole, the biggest difference is the 962 points that separate him and Wagner on the rankings.
And that’s something he plans to change as soon as he can.

View Our Archives

View our categories

Subscribe via RSS