TURKEY NAME BEST POSSIBLE TEAM TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA IN DAVIS

Mersin, Turkey - Turkey have announced their best possible team to face seeded South Africa next weekend in the first round of the Europe/Africa Zone Group 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Tie.

Turkeys top seed Marsel Ilhan.

Picture credit: Tennis Alternative


The tie to be played from 6 to 8 March will be staged in Mersin, Turkey at the Mersin Tennis Complex on a hard indoor court.

Turkeys non-playing captain Haluk Akkoyun nominated his four best players including the highest ranked Turkey players, on the ATP Tour, Marsel Ilaan for their home tie. Ilhan, 27 year old was the first Turkish player to break into the world’s top 100 (2010) and reached a career high of 87 in 2011.
The Turkish team announced is; Marsel Ilhan, Cem Ilkel, Baris Erguden and Anil Yuksel.

South Africa will be without their top player Kevin Anderson who is unavailable for the tie.

South Africa and Turkey have never played each other before in a Davis Cup competition.
South Africa endured mixed fortunes in 2014, winning against Monaco in the first round and losing to Lithuania in the second to remain in Europe/Africa Zone Group 2.
Turkey defeated the FYR Macedonia 2-0 in the 1st-4th play-off to seal promotion to Europe/Africa Group 2 after victories over Estonia and San Marino in Group D in 2014,.

The teams are as follows;

Turkey
Marsel Ilhan (Singles 104 Doubles 1217)
Cem Ilkel (Singles 413 Doubles 503)
Baris Erguden (Singles 606 Doubles 657)
Anil Yuksel (Singles 810 Doubles 629)
Captain: Haluk Akkoyun

South Africa
Fritz Wolmarans (Singles 427 Doubles 1175)
Tucker Vorster (Singles 451 Doubles 424)
Ruan Roelofse (Singles 455 Doubles 249)
Raven Klaasen (Doubles 29)
Captain: Earl Grainger


WHEELCHAIR TENNIS STARS OFF TO BNP PARIBAS WORLD TEAM CUP AFRICAN QUALIFICATION

Tuesday, 24 February 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa. - Wheelchair Tennis South Africa has named two teams to represent the nation in the upcoming BNP Paribas World Team Cup African Qualification tournament in Nairobi, Kenya.

The country will be represented by six players in the men’s and women’s divisions at the international event, which takes place from February 26 to March 1.The qualifying event will be played in a round robin format.

South Africa are set to face hosts Kenya, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius and Tanzania, with all seven teams looking to earn qualification into the BNP Paribas World Team Cup that will be held at Club Alibey Manavgat, in Turkey, from May 25 to 31. The BNP Paribas World Team Cup, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2015, is the ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis event, often referred to as the Davis Cup and Fed Cup of wheelchair tennis.

South Africa’s top-ranked player in the men’s division, world No 15 Evans Maripa, will spearhead the men’s squad. Maripa, who won the Queensland Open earlier this year, will team up with Leon Els, and Sean de Hilster.

World No 9 Kgothatso ‘KG’ Montjane, the country’s top-ranked women’s player, will lead the women’s side. Montjane, who also won the Queensland Open in Brisbane last month, will be joined by Mariska Venter and Thando Hlatshwayo.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa general manager Karen Losch was delighted that the young players in the squad would get a chance to gain valuable international experience.
“Participation in international tournaments such as the BNP Paribas World Team Cup is very important to the growth and development of our upcoming stars.” Losch said.

Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R26-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.


SEEDS ANNOUNCED FOR NWU PUKKE/RVTA ITF 1

Potchefstroom, South Africa - The seeds for next week’s NWU PUKKE/RVTA ITF 1 were announced by Tennis South Africa (TSA).
Players participating in the tournament include players from Poland, Bahamas, Egypt, Netherlands, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Canada, India, Tunisia, USA, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Slovenia, Serbia, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Israel, France, Portugal.
The tournament, will be played at the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy on the University campus in Potchefstroom from Monday 23 February with the finals being played on Friday 27 February.

Boys top seed Calvin Jordaan of Western Province.

Girls top seed Lee Barnard of Gauteng North.

Picture by: BLD Communications


The seeds are as follows (all players South African unless otherwise stated);

Boys
1. Calvin Jordaan
2. Damon Kesaris
3. Altus Karsten
4. Timothy Dollman
5. Richard Thongoana
6. Maximilian Grobbelaar
7. Hubert Badenhorst
8. Joshua Howard-Tripp

Girls
1. Lee Barnard
2. Zani Barnard
3. Louise-Mare Botes
4. Nadine De Villiers
5. Huibre-Mare Botes
6. Nicole Petchey
7. Lindsay Truscott
8. Maxine Bateman


MANGAUNG SCHOOLS TO REPRESENT SOUTH AFRICA IN WORLD TENNIS HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPS

Bloemfontein, South Africa - The first tennis teams of both Grey College and Oranje Meisieskool have been selected to represent South Africa at the World Schools Tennis championships to be held in Doha, Qatar from 7 to 15 March 2015.
The tournament will be played at the Qatar Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
The teams were selected based on the top 8 players on the official Tennis South Africa (TSA) rankings in each school. Players selected had to be in the grades 9 to 12.

Oranje Meisieskool and Grey College: from left to right: front row; Kukutla Motlojoa, Jan Paul Berry, Liam Coertzen, Philip Henning, Handre Hoffman, George Botha. Back row; Daniel De Villiers, Lise Stofberg, Lize Moolman, Hanri Stofberg, Sabrina Moolman and Aletta Macheli.

Picture by: MC Olivier


Teams from Australia, Belgium, Brasil, Chile, China, England, France, Germany, Gautemala, India, Iran, Italy, Qatar, Scotland, Taipei, Thailand and Turkey will join South Africa in the tournament.

The format of play will be the same as the recently successful Indian Premier Tennis League (IPTL) where players will be auctioned off to sponsors with four players making up a team.

The teams representing South Africa are as follows;

Oranje Meisieskool:
1. Lize Moolman
2. Hanri Stofberg
3. Lise Stofberg
4. Daniel De Villiers
5. Aletta Macheli
6. Sabrina Moolman

Grey College:
1. George Botha
2. Jan Paul Berry
3. Kukutla Motlojoa
4. Philip Henning
5. Liam Coertzen
6. Handre Hoffman

Both teams will be coached by Gustav Fichardt.


INTERNATIONAL TENNIS RETURNS TO POTCHEFSTROOM

NWU PUKKE and RVTA International to host international junior tournaments

Potchefstroom, South Africa – North West Province will once again host international tennis with NWU-PUKKE staging two International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior tennis tournaments at the Riaan Venter Tennis Academy on the University campus in Potchefstroom starting next week.

The first of the back to back tournaments, the NWU PUKKE/RVTA ITF 1 will start on Monday 23 February with the finals scheduled for Friday 27 February. The second, the NWU PUKKE/RVTA ITF 2 will be played from the 2-6 March. Both tournaments form part of the ITF Junior Circuit and have a Grade 5 status. Players participating will earn junior world ranking points.

Junior tennis players from more than 20 countries have started jetting into South Africa to participate in these two tournaments.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome our visiting players from all over the world to our shores. North West Province and NWU-PUKKE have proved over the years to be excellent hosts. They have successfully hosted Davis Cup ties and other international tennis events so I am confident these next two weeks will go down very well” said acting CEO and President of Tennis South Africa, Gavin Crookes.

There are players from Poland, Bahamas, Egypt, Netherlands, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Canada, India, Tunisia, USA, Belgium, Zimbabwe, Slovenia, Serbia, Great Britain, Czech Republic, Israel, France, Portugal, and South Africa competing in both events.


WAYNE MONTGOMERY NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

Georgia, USA – South African rising tennis star Wayne Montgomery, from Somerset West, who is currently a student at the University of Georgia in the USA has been named the Southeastern (SEC) Tennis Freshman of the Week following his performance against Georgia Tech, it was announced Wednesday by the conference office.

Wayne Montgomery

Boland Tennis


Montgomery won his first career match at number one to help the fourth-ranked Bulldogs defeat Georgia Tech 4-3 last Friday. His 6-3, 6-2 victory over No. 49 Nathan Rakitt was his seventh win against a ranked opponent and gave Georgia its first team point in the victory over Tech. Montgomery is 21-4 in his freshman campaign and climbed to No. 17 in this week’s Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) rankings.

Montgomery and the fourth-ranked Bulldogs will take on No. 15 Columbia in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships today (Friday).


BEST POSSIBLE SOUTH AFRICAN TEAM NAMED FOR DAVIS CUP TIE AGAINST TURKEY

• Fritz Wolmarans back in Davis Cup side

Johannesburg, South Africa - South Africa will go guns-a-blazing into their Euro/Africa Zone Group II Davis Cup tie away against Turkey from March 6 to 8.
Newly appointed Captain Earl Grainger announced a “best possible” squad to take on the Turks, comprising of Raven Klaasen, Tucker Vorster, Fritz Wolmarans and Ruan Roelofse.
For the first time since 2007 Fritz Wolmarans will be representing South Africa and is the highest ranked singles player in the named side. Raven Klaasen, the country’s highest world ranked doubles player will be playing and this will be his 11th tie for South Africa.
Despite South Africa’s top player Kevin Anderson not being available for the tie, Grainger said he was pleased that the four had made themselves available.
“As new Captain my main objective was to get the best team assembled. I made contact with Kevin Anderson and his agent and I had good positive discussions with both but unfortunately Kevin said due to scheduling reasons he could not play against Turkey. I am hopeful that Kevin will down the line play Davis Cup and I will continue to work hard at making that possible. Kevin will no doubt be a major asset to our Davis Cup team and his participation in the team will no doubt improve the team’s chances of success.”
“Regardless of Kevin not being available I am pleased Fritz is back in the Davis Cup fold and that Raven once again has shown his loyal support to his country by making himself available. With Tucker and Ruan also named we have the best possible side to take on Turkey. It’s a very experienced team. It’s crucial for us to win this tie to give us any chance of promotion back to Group 1.”
Grainger named Dean O’Brien as the reserve. “We will not be travelling with five players in the squad. If we did I could only name four players anyway at the draw which would leave the fifth player on the bench. We felt it only fair to take the four players and name a reserve in this case Dean O’Brien. Dean can continue with his schedule but will be available should any of the four named players named injure themselves ahead of the official draw” said Grainger.
A key member of the team announced is the evergreen Raven Klaasen; the team’s doubles specialist. In 2014 Klaasen formed a new partnership with multiple Grand Slam winner Leanda Paes, Klaasen is playing the best tennis of his career at the age of 32. Ranked 28 on the world doubles ranking, Klaasen has enjoyed a solid run recently in Auckland New Zealand at the Heineken Open where he and Paes won the title. At the start of the year, Klaasen and Paes reached the final in Chennai as well.
Fritz Wolmarans said “I’m very excited to be part of the Davis Cup team again after a few years. It is always an honour to represent my country and I am looking forward to the challenge in Turkey and I will do my best to help the team get back to Group 1. I will be playing a Challenger tournament in Mexico followed by a Futures event in Turkey the week prior to the tie which should help me get used to the Turkish climate ahead of the tie.”
The tie will be played at the Mersin Tennis Complex in Mersin, Turkey.
The South African team and their current ranking positions: Raven Klaasen (29 doubles); Tucker Vorster (431 singles, doubles 441); Ruan Roelofse ( singles, 457 doubles 254); Fritz Wolmarans (429 singles; 1174 doubles).


LEGENDARY COETZEE NEW MATIES TENNIS HEAD COACH

Cape Town, South Africa – Stellenbosch University (Maties) Tennis recently announced that legendary South African doubles player Jeff Coetzee would be the new Head Coach of the Maties Tennis High Performance Squad.

Jeff Coetzee

Picture by: Thys Lombard


Le Roux Conradie, Maties Tennis Sport Manager, said the team and the management are extremely excited with the prospect of having Coetzee on board. “It is not every day that we are fortunate to have somebody with Jeff’s experience and success on board and we look forward to many success stories together. The players can’t wait for Jeff to start and I think we can look forward to a great year for Maties Tennis. Last year we showed already what we can do with mostly first years part of the High Performance Program. This year the team is more experienced.

Maties Tennis also thanked Caylix Sport Management for negotiating the appointment of Coetzee as coach.”

Coetzee (37 yrs.) has won six ATP Tour doubles titles in his career. When he still played he was ranked in the top 10 of doubles and also played Davis Cup on 18 occasions for South Africa. “I like new challenges and have a passion for tennis. I will give my best to help Maties Tennis. And with me giving my all, I will expect no less from the players. I want them to give 100% like I am. But also to enjoy it. Then the results will come. My message to the players is to believe in themselves and together on this journey we will make their dreams reality.”

Coetzee will be assisted by Sunel Malan (Assistant Head Coach) and Victor Hendricks (Mental Coach).


PREPARATIONS FOR WORLD NETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS WELL UNDER WAY

Pretoria, South Africa – Preparations for the World Netball Championships in Sydney, Australia, in August have stepped up a gear, with most of South Africa’s top netball players taking part in an intensive two-week training camp in Pretoria.

President of Netball South Africa Mimi Mthethwa addresses the media during a press conference at St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls in Pretoria. Beside Mthethwa (From L-R) is the former Australian coach Norma Plummer and newly appointed SPAR Proteas coach Bennie Saayman.

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


One of the world’s most experienced and successful coaches, Norma Plummer of Australia, joined the coach of the SPAR national team, Benny Saayman, as they put the players through their paces.
Plummer, who coached the Australian team to victory in the 2007 and 2011 world netball championships, was asked by Netball South Africa to help Saayman to take the elite players to the next level.
“When I arrived, I found that the players were definitely well below the standard achieved by players in Australia,” said Plummer.
“We have been giving them intensive drills and training them to take responsibility for their actions on court.
“I have taught them the importance of maintaining their standards throughout the match, because as soon as they let those standards drop, the match is over.”
Plummer said she had seen a marked improvement in all the players since the start of the training camp.
“The players are also watching each other, and making sure that everyone is playing at the same level. If someone drops the ball or makes a silly pass, the others remind her of the need to take responsibility,” she said.
“They having been doing some very intensive netball-related drills aimed at improving their agility and footwork. They are also learning to make decisions quickly and to create different options when the original plan doesn’t work. I think they have made good progress and there is the basis of a very good team.”
Saayman, who took over the reins after the resignation for personal reasons of coach Elize Kotze, said she was very excited by the improvement shown by the players.
“We asked Norma (Plummer) to help us develop our attacking game. Our defensive play is very good, but we need to be more attacking,” she said.
“We have also focused on basic netball skills, so that these come naturally, without the players having to think about them.”
Saayman said there was plenty of time before the squad for the World Championships was selected.
“We have the Brutal Fruit tournament coming up, and that will help all the top players, who will be involved in high-intensity netball over several weeks. Then we will be playing in the European Championships in Northern Ireland, where we will come up against England, who are ranked third in the world. And finally, there is the Diamond Challenge Tournament, where we will play the top African sides, including our perennial rivals, Malawi.
“All that will help the players to put into practice what they have learned from Norma. I think we have a very exciting time ahead,” said Saayman.


BOOST FOR SOUTH AFRICAN TENNIS AS FED CUP TEAM GAIN PROMOTION

• Scheepers and Simmonds dominate
• Scheepers unbeaten in Fed Cup week

Tallinn, Estonia - The KIA South Africa Fed Cup team dominated against Finland on Saturday to gain promotion to the Euro/Africa Group 1.

KIA South Africa Fed Cup team Captain Earl Grainger, team members Michelle Sammons, Chanel Simmonds, Ilze Hattingh, Chani Scheepers and Tennis South Africa Fed Cup advisor and Board member Allan Karam.


South Africa beat Finland 2-0 to end up unbeaten after their week long Fed Cup Euro/Africa Group II tournament played in Tallinn, Estonia.

The two South African singles players, Chanel Simmonds and Chani Scheepers dropped only eight games in beating their respective Finnish opponents in both singles rubbers played over two hours and 33 minutes.

Simmonds got her country onto the scoreboard first with a 6-2 6-4 win over Piia Suomalainen. Simmonds was too consistent for her opponent, taking the ball early and applying pressure, kept Simmonds on the front foot forcing Suomalainen to make many unforced errors.
It was then the South African number one, Chani Scheepers who clinched the tie for South Africa when she beat Finnish number one Ella Leivo 6-2 6-0.
Scheepers went on a streak of attacking returns and aggressive baseline play and simply out classed Leivo from the start of every point. The South African was able to dominate and remain that way right through the match, allowing the Finn no chance of using her consistency and power.

Scheepers said following victory “we are happy with the promotion and hope this can further enhance women’s tennis in South Africa.”

Scheepers remained unbeaten all week.

“We did it and I am very happy” said Captain Earl Grainger who applauded his charges.” This is a great achievement and is very good for South African tennis.”
“I wanted South Africa to be dominant from the start of the week, and all players understood the team goal and what we were out to achieve.”
The dead doubles rubber was not played in an agreement made between both Captains.

So after beating Egypt, hosts and favourites Estonia, Bosnia/Herzegovina and Finland on Saturday, South Africa concluded the week with a 9 - 3 match winning record and moved up to Europe/Africa Group 1 for 2016.

Tennis South Africa President, Gavin Crookes, sent his congratulations to Grainger and the team. “ What a fantastic effort by Earl and all the team members. We are extremely proud of you all and congratulate each one of you for the part you played in this success. Together with team sponsors KIA, City Lodge and Topspin, it is evident that a nice fresh energy has sprung within the team, complimented by our top ranked player Chani Scheepers’ availability, an energy that has transformed into a winning way and the combined effort has resulted in the aim and objective being reached of promotion into Group 1.”

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