WILCARDS ANNOUNCED FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN JUNIOR TENNIS NATIONALS

Bloemfontein, South Africa - The wildcards for this week’s South African Junior Tennis Nationals were announced Tuesday by Tennis South Africa (TSA).
The tournament, will be played in Bloemfontein from Wednesday 1 April with the finals being played on Monday 6 April 2015.

The wildcards are as follows;
Boys

12 and under
Justin Van Der Merwe (GN)
Jordan Gancho (GE)

14 and under
Kevin Dlamini (GC)
Chia-Wen Liu (WP)

16 and under
CJ Klopper (KZN)
James Roelofse (Bol)

18 and under
Dylan Smit (GE)
Siseko Ngubela (GC)

Girls

12 and under
Mbali Langa (GC)
Amukelani Mokone (GC)

14 and under
Hannah Plageman (KZN)
Tayla Kruger (GN)

16 and under
Cassandra Boltman (GN)
Chanelle Oosthuizen (GN)


MONTJANE, MARIPA RETURN FROM THE US FOR HOME TOURNAMENTS

Tuesday, 31 March 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa. – South Africa’s top wheelchair tennis athletes Kgothatso ‘KG’ Montjane and Evans Maripa return today from a two-tournament tour in the US. Both Montjane and Maripa recently competed in the Pensacola and Cajun Classic Open. The highlights included world number 9 women’s player, Montjane reaching the quarterfinals in both tournaments. She lost to the third seed Marjolein Buis of the Netherlands 4-6 1-6 in the 12th Annual Pensacola Open and in the Cajun Classic Open, Montjane was eliminated in the quarterfinal round by world number 4 Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany 4-6 4-6.

Kgothatso Montjane

Evans Maripa
Picture credits: Reg Caldecott


The SA No.1 man’s player, Maripa was also knocked out in the quarterfinal round of the ITF 1 Pensacola Open event by world no.7 Maikel Scheffers. Scheffers who was the runner-up in the men singles event eliminated Maripa 6-0 6-1. In the Cajun Classic Open – an ITF 1 event - Maripa was taken out by Belgium’s Joachim Gerard, 6-0 6-0.

Although a disappointing performance for both Montjane and Maripa, they were not knocked out by their rivals but players who hold top world ranking positions. South Africa’s no.1 player, the 25 year old Maripa went on to play the doubles with partner Marc McCarroll (UK) in the Cajun Classic Open and reached the semi-finals but lost to second seed Michael Jeremiasz and Nicolas Peifer 0-6 3-6.

The two ITF 1 events were warm-up tournaments for Montjane and Maripa in preparation for next month’s two top-flight domestic tournaments, starting with the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open which will take place from 8-12 April at Benoni Tennis Club.
Following the ITF 1 event, they will participate in the highly anticipated Airports Company South Africa SA Open – Super Series event to be staged at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium from April 14-18.

Montjane said both tournaments were very important to them going into home events next month where they hope to perform well. “Despite the results, it was good to play few competitive matches before home tournaments and we look forward to some great action at home.”


TOP INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS HEADING FOR SOUTH AFRICA

Johannesburg, South Africa - Good news for tennis fans is that amongst the world’s best wheelchair tennis players have entered the upcoming Airports Company South Africa international series.

David Wagner of the USA.


Wheelchair Tennis South Africa confirmed today that no less than nineteen top ten world ranked players had entered the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open (8-12 April) and Airports Company South Africa African Open (14-18 April). This includes world number one Quad player, David Wagner of the USA.
Both tournaments form part of the UNIQLO world tour with the Gauteng Open a Grade 1 and SA Open a Super Series graded event. Eighteen nations including hosts South Africa will be represented in the back to back events.

The top ratings of the two tournaments to be played in Benoni and Johannesburg respectively offer valuable world ranking points which will help the players not only with their individual world ranking but also assist them qualify for the major wheelchair tennis events including the Grand Slams.

In the men’s singles eight of the top ten players have entered with flamboyant Frenchman Stephane Houdet ranked two heading the list. Other notable names in the men’s draw are popular world number four, Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina and fifth ranked Joachim Gerard of Germany.

Houdet has won an impressive 32 singles and 60 doubles titles including 13 Grand Slam crowns. The 44 year old was also the world number one in June of 2012. Last year Houdet beat Brit Gordon Reid to win the title in Johannesburg. Reid will be absent from this year’s line-up.

South Africa’s best chance in the men’s singles will be rising star Evans Maripa of Limpopo, ranked 12 in the world. Maripa is at his career high world ranking and is hoping for a good showing in Benoni and Johannesburg to break into the world’s top ten.

In the women’s singles only four of the world’s top 10 will not be making the trip to South Africa. World number three player Jiske Griffioen of The Netherlands will spearhead the challenge. Former world number one Van Koot who reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open and the defending champion of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open unfortunately withdrew from her trip to South Africa on Tuesday due to injury. Kgothatso (KG) Montjane, South Africa’s top world ranked women player, will be posing a strong challenge to the top players. Ranked just inside the top ten at number nine, Montjane has beaten most of the players ranked above her at one stage in her career.

Once again there will be much interest in the Quad division where three of the world’s top four players will be in action. World number one and defending champion, David Wagner of the USA will be looking to continue his domination of the Quad’s division but as always will be strongly challenged by third ranked Andrew Lapthorne of Great Britain and South Africa’s own Lucas Sithole. Fourth ranked Sithole has been Wagner’s biggest rival since 2012 and beat Wagner to win the 2013 US Open title. But Wagner since becoming world number one in 2003 has dominated the Quads division of the game having lost only 9 matches in 44 matches played and has won every major title on offer.

KG Montjane said that it was a real honour to participate in this tournament once again. “One of the biggest challenges facing the sport is lack of publicity. We are grateful that Airports Company South Africa is on board and has placed a huge role in not only providing a platform for us to showcase our talent but to also create wider interest in the sport. The cooperation between Airports Company South Africa and Wheelchair Tennis South Africa has taken the sport to a new level”.


SEEDS ANNOUNCED FOR SOUTH AFRICAN JUNIOR NATIONALS

Bloemfontein, South Africa - The seeds for this week’s South African Junior Nationals were announced by Tennis South Africa (TSA) today (Monday).
The tournament, will be played at various tennis facilities in Mangaung, Bloemfontein from Wednesday 1 April with the finals being played on Monday 6 April.
There will be no qualifying tournament as players qualify according to the TSA National rankings.
The seeds are as follows;
BOYS

12 & Under (Grey and Eunice Schools)
1-Kholo Montsi (GN)
2-Andreas Scott (GC)
3- Carl Roothman (Bol)
4-Connor Kruger (GN)
5-Dylan Salton (GE)
6-Damien Nezar (SWD)
7-Devin Badenhorst (GN)
8-Marnus Oosthuizen (GN)

14 & Under (University of Free State)
1-Philip Henning (FS)
2-Justin Liebenberg (GC)
3-Joubert Klopper (FS)
4-Charl Morgan (GC)
5-Dylan Smith (Bor)
6-Pierre Malan (WP)
7-Hanro-Daniël Van Der Merwe (Bol)
8-Sasha Muller (GC)

16 & Under (The Free State Tennis Stadium)
1-Damon Kesaris (KZN)
2-Timothy Dollman (WP)
3-Richard Thongoana (GC)
4-Calvin Jordaan (WP)
5-Joshua Howard-Tripp (GE)
6-Jandre’ Lessing (EP)
7-Jordan Sauer (GN)
8-Bertus Kruger (GC)

18 & Under (Muddplein Tennis Club)
1-Nikolai Manchev (KZN)
2-Michael Copeland (GC)
3-Marnich Hattingh (GN)
4-Hubert Badenhorst (FS)
5-Jan-Louis Maritz (Bol)
6-Dale Sandy (KZN)
7-Juan-Louis Van Antwerpen (GC)
8-Maximilian Grobbelaar (GC)

GIRLS

12 & Under (Grey and Eunice Schools)
1-Makayla Loubser (WP)
2-Isabella Weatherhead (GN)
3-Alme Jordaan (Bol)
4-Gizelle Naude (FS)
5-Maria Mostert (FS)
6-Anja De Beer (EP)
7-Christine Kruger (FS)
8-Alta Brink (Bol)

14 & Under (University of Free State)
1-Angela Georgieva (GC)
2-Kaylin Bouwer (EP)
3-Jessica Assenmacher (GC)
4-Samantha Muller (GC)
5-Evangeline Du Toit (Bol)
6-Bianca Wolmarans (WP)
7-Carmen Fichardt (FS)
8-Linge Steenkamp (FS)

16 & Under (The Free State Tennis Stadium)
1-Mila Hartig (GN)
2-Minette Van Vreden (Bol)
3-Nicole Petchey (WP)
4-Maxine Bateman (KZN)
5-Corin De Waal (Bol)
6-Margo Landmann (FS)
7-Imaan Hassim (GC)
8-Maja Gledic (GC)

18 & Under (Muddplein Tennis Club)
1-Nadine De Villiers (GC)
2-Lindsay Truscott (GN)
3-Huibre-Mare Botes (FS)
4-Lienke De Kock (NW)
5-Morgan Dickason (Bol)
6-Kirsten Higgs (KZN)
7-Réze Opperman (EP)
8-Crystal Roux (GN)


DANCING MAKHANYA WINS CAPE TOWN 10KM CHALLENGE

Cape Town, South Africa - A beaming Mapaseka Makhanya danced across the finish line to win the SPAR Women’s 10 km Challenge in of 32.54 minutes at Greenpoint in Cape Town on Sunday.

The top three SPAR Women’s Challenge winners at the Cape Town leg. (L-R): Lebogang Phalula (3rd); Mapaseka Makhanya (1st); and Rutendo Nyahora (2nd).

Mapaseka Makhanya celebrates her win as she crosses the finish line first at the SPAR Women’s Challenge race in Cape Town on Sunday, 29 March 2015.

Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


Her Nedbank teammate, Rutendo Nyahora was second, in 33.03, and Lebogang Phalula, (Transnet) finished third in 33.20. Makhanya and Nyahora both broke the course record of 33.06.
The Kalmer sisters, Rene and Christine, came in fourth and fifth.

It was Makhanya’s first win in Cape Town, and her first Challenge win since Pretoria in 2013, and the victory gives her a head start in the SPAR Grand Prix.

It was a fast, competitive race from the start. Nyahora took the early lead, with Phalula, Makhanya and Rene Kalmer running in a bunch close behind her.

The lead changed hands several times, as the elite runners surged and then fell back.
“Rutendo started in the front, and I decided to run with her,” said Makhanya.
“I knew it was going to be a hard race, but it was a good, flat course. I didn’t consciously decide to go for it, it just happened. I’m very happy to have won again – it has been too long since I won a Challenge race.”
Nyahora said she had decided to go hard from the start.
“However, I lost focus at four kilometres and fell back a bit, but then at six kilometres I decided I had to go hard again.”

Phalula said she found it difficult to run without her twin sister Diana-Lebo, who was doing national duty at the world cross-country championships in China.
“We usually run together and encourage each other. It was strange without her. But well done to the other girls – I’ll see you in Port Elizabeth.”

Makhanya said the run had been good preparation for the Two Oceans 21km in a week’s time.
“And after that I will be running my first international marathon, in Hanover. I was thinking about that marathon before the race, but Rutendo told me to put it out of my mind and concentrate on the 10km today. So I did that, and it’s thanks to her that I won.”
She said it always felt special to win a women’s race.
“When you cross the finish line, you’re the first, and you’re not surrounded by men. It is a great feeling to be running against the other elite athletes and knowing you’re running against the best in the country.”

Rene Kalmer, who has won more Challenge races than any other runner and has won the Grand Prix three times, said she was happy with her run and her time.
“I’m running the Vienna marathon in two weeks time, and this was excellent preparation for that.”
Irvette van Zyl, who has two Grand Prix titles to her credit, finished out of the top 10, but she was full of smiles.
“I was out of the top 10, but I won the Plus One category,” she laughed.
Van Zyl is expecting a baby in September. She said she intended to run as long as possible.
Twenty-three thousand 353 runners took part in the race, which kicked off the Spar Challenge series. The next race is in Port Elizabeth on May 9.


TOP TENNIS JUNIORS INVADE MANGAUNG

Bloemfontein, South Africa - The cream of South African junior tennis will start arriving in the Free State capital, Mangaung this weekend for the upcoming South African Junior Nationals.

The country’s premier junior tennis event will be contested in four age groups namely the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 at four premier Bloemfontein tennis venues.

Over 400 juniors have entered the five day event to be played from 1-6 April, 2015.

The players will play in singles and doubles events within each of the age groups.

The under 12 age group will play at Grey and Eunice schools with the under 14 playing at the University of Free State courts. The Free State Stadium will host the boys and girls under 16 with the under 18 age group doing battle at Muddplein Tennis Club. All the semi-finals and finals on Sunday and Monday the 5th and 6th of April 2015 will be played at the main venue, The Free State Tennis Stadium.

The South African Junior Nationals will be followed by the Free State Dunlop Series also played at the same Bloemfontein venues. The Free State Dunlop Series will be played from 7th to 11 April 2015. This tournament is also a major junior event on the South African tennis calendar.

Acting Tennis South Africa (TSA) CEO Gavin Crookes said that both tournaments formed an important part of the development of tennis in South Africa. “We at TSA take the development of tennis very seriously and see it as the future success of our sport. When you get 430 of the country’s top junior players together in one city at one time you enable the players to battle amongst the best and off court have good social fun which is an important part of the growth of the players and the game.”

Crookes said that Bloemfontein was the perfect venue for the big event. “We have over the years chosen Bloemfontein to host the Junior National due to the fact that they have lots of courts in fabulous conditions, great tennis venues and an abundance of affordable accommodation. It made sense for TSA to partner with Free State Tennis and play the Free State Dunlop Series back to back with the Junior Nationals giving the players a good tennis experience and their parents, coaches and academies an affordable tennis trip.”


LUCAS SITHOLE JOINED BY FOOTBALL LEGEND ITUMELENG KHUNE

Thursday, 19 March 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa. – Wheelchair tennis ace Lucas Sithole was paid a visit by soccer star Itumeleng Khune on Thursday, bringing some added excitement to one of his usual daily training sessions.

Itu3a.jpg – Itumeleng Khune in action during his match against Lucas Sithole on Thursday at UJ Tennis Courts in Johannesburg.

Itu7a.jpg – Lucas Sithole (Left) and Itumeleng Khune (Right) doing some soccer ropes after their tennis match on Thursday at UJ Tennis courts in Johannesburg.

Pictures by: Reg Caldecott


The former US Open champion was joined by the Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper and his commercial manager Thato Matuka.

Khune, who recently returned to the national squad after recovering from injury, joined Sithole on the court where they posed for photographs and played a bit of tennis.
Sithole, ranked fourth in the world, is in a hard training phase in preparation for next month’s two top-flight domestic tournaments, starting with the Airports Company South Africa Gauteng Open which will take place from 8-12 April at Benoni Tennis Club.
Following the ITF 1 event, he will participate in the highly anticipated Airports Company South Africa SA Open, to be staged at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium from April 14-18.

“It was a good day for me at practice having my favourite sports man Itumeleng Khune, I taught him two or three things on court and he isn’t bad at all. I would like to thank him for making time to join me for practice. I look forward to him joining us at the Airports Company South Africa SA Open in Ellis Park next month.” Said Sithole

Khune enjoyed playing tennis with Sithole and wished him well for next month’s tournaments. “I would like to thank Lucas and his coach Holger Losch for allowing me to come and intervene in their training, I really enjoyed myself and I am grateful for having played with the wheelchair tennis legend Lucas Sithole.” Said Khune.


NETBALL SOUTH AFRICA BACKS DURBAN BID TO HOST COMMONEWEALTH GAMES

Johannesburg, South Africa - Netball South Africa (NSA) has thrown its weight fully behind Durban’s bid to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

Mimi Mthethwa

Picture by: Reg Caldecott


NSA President Mimi Mthethwa said netball was an important component of the Commonwealth Games, and NSA would be honoured to have such an important tournament at home.
“Netball is mainly played by Commonwealth countries, and the cream of world netball is represented at the Commonwealth Games every four years,” she said.
“There are two major events on the international netball calendar – the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. South Africa is one of the top six countries in world netball, and I know the SPAR Proteas would welcome playing in front of their home crowds in a major event like the Games.”
She said netball was the biggest women’s sport in South Africa, and a tournament of the magnitude of the Commonwealth Games would further enhance its popularity in the country.
“We have seen what happened in the United Kingdom after the Olympic Games in London in 2012, and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. Local support for the sporting codes involved in the Games increased dramatically, as British sportsmen and women captured the imagination of the British public.

“The same would happen here, and support for netball would grow exponentially as people see what an exciting sport it is when played at international level.”
“With home support, South Africa would feel confident of challenging for a medal in netball.”
As the only city in the running to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Durban is almost certain to be named the host for the biggest multi-sports event ever hosted in South Africa.
Although African countries make up the majority of Commonwealth countries, the Commonwealth Games have never been staged in Africa.


DUTCH JUNIOR TENNIS STARS TOUCH HEARTS OF SOWETO YOUNGSTERS

Johannesburg, South Africa - Members of the Dutch junior tennis team decided to visit Soweto and share some tennis knowledge with the young aspiring players of the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre development programme last week.

Members of the Dutch junior tennis team sharing tennis knowledge with the young aspiring players of the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre development programme last week.

Picture: BLD Communications


The tennis team travelled to South Africa to participate in the two week International Tennis Federation NWU PUKKE/RVTA ITF 1 and 2 held in Potchefstroom in February and early March.

Other than passing on tennis skills to the enthusiastic youngsters, the Dutch players donated some tennis apparel to the junior players that they had collected in The Netherlands prior to making their trip to South Africa.

Dutch Coach Chris Vermeeren said it was important in the development of junior players that they conducted clinics like the one in Soweto and reached out to players who had less opportunities than they had. “Before we left for South Africa I gathered the players together and briefed them on South Africa and the history of the country and diversity of the population and culture. Then I contacted Tennis South Africa (TSA) and asked whether doing a clinic in Soweto would be possible. TSA welcomed the idea and gave it full support. The Dutch players then decided to collect tennis apparel and hand it out at the clinic, their own initiative, which was good to see.”

The Dutch team also visited the historical Hector Pietersen Memorial, Nelson Mandela’s house on Vilakazi Street and the FNB Soccer Stadium (Official FIFA 2010 World Cup stadium) as part of their Soweto tour.


NETBALL SA LAUDS ENGLAND FOR WINNING 2019 WORLD CUP.

The International Netball Federation (INF) announced recently that England Netball has won the rights to host the 15th staging of the Netball World Cup in 2019. The tournament, which follows this year’s Netball World Cup in Sydney, Australia, will be held at ACC Liverpool in the iconic city of Liverpool, widely renowned for its international reputation in hosting sports and other major events, including the World Netball Series.
Netball SA President Mimi Mthethwa said: “Netball is thriving with unprecedented growth in participation, support from sponsors and exposure in the media particularly in South Africa. We have toured England on numerous occasions and can attest to the top class facilities they have to stage an event of this magnitude.
“We in the international netball fraternity are looking forward to this year’s World Cup in Sydney and believe that such world class events would serve to further enhance the profile of the sport. We want to be one of the most followed and watched codes globally and this will help us to get there,” said Mthethwa.
INF President Molly Rhone said: “England put in a strong bid and we are confident that they will deliver an outstanding event in an excellent venue in the city of Liverpool. It is an exciting time for netball right now, which is growing at an unprecedented rate throughout the world. We look forward to seeing this growth continue to soar and to working with the Organising Committee in bringing the INF’s most important event to England in 2019.”
The 2019 Netball World Cup forms part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series, which is investing around £40 million of National Lottery funding to bring up to 100 world-class events to Great Britain to help build a strong legacy from London 2012 and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
CEO of England Netball Joanna Adams commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the rights to stage the World Cup, the biggest competition in netball. With participation increasing in the sport, this will provide a welcome incentive to build upon our momentum and increase the visibility of netball in our country.
“Having worked with Liverpool to host major global tournaments previously, we have a proven track record of being able to stage such a prestigious event and we look forward to welcoming the netball world to the North-West. On behalf of England Netball, I would like to thank all parties who worked with us on securing this bid.”


SITHOLE LEADS POWER5 TO ABILITY CHALLENGE VICTORY

Johannesburg. – Former US Open champion Lucas Sithole was full of praise for the organisers and sponsors of the Wheelchair Tennis Ability Challenge, after carrying his Power5 team to victory at O.R. Tambo International on Wednesday.

The winners of the 2015 Ability Challenge Power5 team, (From L-R) Lucas Sithole, Kris Reddy, the General Manager at OR Tambo International Airport, Pietie Norval, Themba Tshabalala and Eunice Khoza lift the trophy at the fourth edition of the Wheelchair Tennis Ability Challenge on Wednesday, 11 March 2015 at O.R. Tambo International Airport.
Picture by: Eugene Le Roux


Sithole joined Themba Tshabalala, Pietie Norval and Eunice Khoza as they lifted the trophy at the fourth edition of the annual event, in the build-up to the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at Ellis Park next month.
“This was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it,” Sithole said.
“It gave people another opportunity to try wheelchair tennis and it helped give the players a bit more confidence ahead of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open.
“Holding this sort of event gives the sport a lot of exposure and we can see it growing every year, which is great for wheelchair tennis.”
The tournament, played in a Pro Set format, involved four teams each including a wheelchair tennis player, an able-bodied player, a celebrity and an Airports Company South Africa employee.
The Sport@10 squad (Thomas Mambo, Paul Anderson, Kgothatso Montjane, Aletta Ngozo) secured a 4-1 win over 702 Talkers (Udo Carelse, Leon Els, Natalie Grandin, Nomzamo Yawathi) in the first round, while the Power5 team bagged a 6-4 victory over Morning Live (Vaylen Kirtley, Jared Robinson, Evans Maripa, Sonto Masina).
Power5 went on to beat Sport@10 6-4 in a thrilling final.
Norval, a former professional able-bodied player who won the French Open mixed doubles title in 1999 and the men’s doubles silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games, believed events like the Wheelchair Tennis Ability Challenge were crucial in building the sport.
“Getting a chance to be in a wheelchair, it shows you how hard it is for these players to move around and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them,” Norval said.
“Having Airports Company South Africa sponsoring wheelchair tennis for so many years and creating awareness like this is great for the sport of tennis in general, not just wheelchair tennis.”
Kris Reddy, the General Manager at OR Tambo International Airport, hoped the partnership between Airports Company South Africa and Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) would continue to grow.
“It is a privilege for Airports Company South Africa to be associated with Wheelchair Tennis South Africa,” Reddy said.
“We support mobility and we wish to grow this partnership into the future as the sport continues to gain momentum.”


HEARTBREAK FOR SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP TEAM

Mersin, Turkey - Going in this weekend’s tie with Turkey, South African Davis Cup Captain Earl Grainger always said both teams had a 50/50 chance. Grainger also said that playing Turkey away would be a challenge and with the Turks having a world number 77 ranked player in Marsel Ilhan his charges would have to pull out all the stops to have a chance of winning away from home.

But in a heartbreaking weekend of tennis for South Africa it was a matter of being so close yet so far and Turkey piped South Africa 3-2 to stand a chance of promotion to Group 1.

South Africa started Sunday 2-1 ahead thanks to a hard fought five set doubles win on Saturday by Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse. On Friday South Africa and Turkey shared the spoils with each team winning a singles rubber.

In the opening reverse singles rubber on Sunday, the number one players did battle. Ilhan came out against South Africa’s Fritz Wolmarans. Despite Wolmarans being ranked some 387 places lower than Ilhan on the world rankings Wolmarans did himself and South Africa proud extending the top 100 ranked Turk to five grueling sets.
Ilhan needed over four hours to beat Wolmarans 6-2 6-4 6-7 (5) 4-6 8-6 in a titanic battle. After losing the first two sets in a quick 70 minutes, Wolmarans came from break down in the third set to force the set into the tiebreaker which he won. In the fourth set, Wolmarans was broken in the second game but promptly broke back and with added confidence found the second break in the tenth game to win the set 6-4 and level the rubber at two sets all. In the decider Wolmarans dug deep to save three match points at 4-5 down and held on until Ilhan broke the strong Wolmarans serve in the fourteenth game to win the rubber and take the tie to a 2-2 score line.

Grainger then replaced his originally nominated number two player Tucker Vorster with Ruan Roelofse for the deciding singles rubber.

“Tucker suffered a lower back strain in his singles on Friday and we decided it was just too risky for Tucker to come out and play a decider” said Grainger.

But like Wolmarans, Roelofse did himself and his country proud. Roelofse fought from start to finish, battled not only Cem Ilkel his opponent but a partisan, rowdy Turkish crowd and suspect line calls and chair umpire. It was another epic battle of well over three hours which the Turkish number two eventually won 7-6 (11) 6-7 (7) 5-7 7-6 (5) 6-4 which gave the home team the 3-2 win over the visitors.

Despite the loss, South Africa can be proud of their efforts. The young and relative inexperienced side gave of their all and the teams commitment and dedication to the task at hand cannot be faltered.

South Africa now will play against Ireland in July in South Africa in a relegation match. South Africa will need to beat Ireland to remain in Euro Africa Group 2 for 2016. The loser will drop to Euro Africa Group 3.

“Obviously we are hugely disappointed in not having won” said Grainger. “But I could not have asked for a better effort from my team. We were so, so close on winning the tie but it wasn’t to be. I feel we can take a lot of positives from the weekend in Turkey and we will soldier on and prepare for our tie in July with a positive mindset.”


SOUTH AFRICA ONE STEP CLOSER TO DAVIS CUP WIN

Mersin, Turkey - South Africa will go into Sunday’s reverse singles in their Davis Cup Euro Africa Group 2 with a slight advantage. This was courtesy of doubles team Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse after their epic win on Saturday.

Klaasen and Roelofse needed just over three hours to beat their Turkish opponents Marsel Ilhan and Cem Ilkel 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5) 4-6 6-3 to give South Africa a 2-1 advantage in the best of five rubber tie.
Dominating from the start, the South Africans were up by two sets to love in just an hour. But the momentum swung Turkey’s way in the third set and although South Africa had chances to close out the rubber in three sets, the Turks played smart collective tennis to win the third set on the tie breaker.

“We got off to a flyer and thought that we could finish it off in three sets” said Roelofse. “But a few loose points here and there and with the Turkish crowd getting into the match things changed and we were all of a sudden two sets a piece.”

Turkish Captain, Haluk Akkoyun played the Davis Cup rules to perfection when an hour before the start of play on Saturday he changed his doubles team from the original two player named and announced his two top singles players would play in the doubles. This surprise move put added pressure on South Africa.

The experience of the Turks, especially world number 77 Marsel Ilkel showed in the tie breaker and fourth set which was won by the Turks which levelled the rubber and two sets all.

Roelofse said that during the rest room break before the final fifth set, Klaasen said they had to return to their original game plan. “Raven said we must regroup and go back to our game plan, execute the serve, stay aggressive and keep going forward.”

The South African’s did just that and found the important break in the fourth game to lead 3-1. Turkey broke serve in the seventh game but another break by South Africa the very next game gave them a 5-3 lead. Ruan Roelofse then held serve to win the rubber.

“It was a real nail brighter” said Klaasen following victory. “The reality is that when you play Davis Cup there is extra weight on your shoulders playing for your country.”
“We got out the gates good and won the first two sets pretty quickly and all was going according to plan. But Davis Cup is a different animal. The crowd got into the match, we got loose, the Turks lifted their game and all of a sudden it was a real battle. But Ruan and I dug deep and I told Ruan to breathe deep, think slow and play the tennis that won us the first two sets and it all worked out.”

In the reverse singles on Sunday, South Africa will need to win only one of the two singles rubbers to give them that third point to win the tie.

Up first on Sunday at 12 noon South African time it will be the battle of the number ones, Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs Marsel Ilhan (Tur) followed by Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs Cem Ilkel (Tur).

Both singles rubbers will be shown live on SuperSport 8 (DSTV Channel 208) from 11h50.


FRITZ WOLMARANS AND TUCKER VORSTER NAMED AS SINGLES PLAYERS FOR SOUTH AFRICA AT DAVIS CUP DRAW

Mersin, Turkey – South African Davis Cup captain, Earl Grainger announced Fritz Wolmarans and Tucker Vorster as his number one and number two nominated singles player at the official draw of this weekend’s Euro Africa Group 2 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas tie between South Africa and Turkey. The tie will be played at the Mersin Tennis Complex, Mersin, Turkey from 6-8 March 2015.
As expected, South Africa’s highest ranked world doubles player, Raven Klaasen will play the doubles rubber and Grainger nominated Ruan Roelofse as his partner for the doubles rubber on Saturday.
World number 427 Fritz Wolmarans, will get South Africa’s weekend campaign under way against Turkey on Friday 6 March at 12 noon South African time. Wolmarans will play Cem Ilkel the Turkish number two, in the opening rubber. This will be the first time that the two have met. This will be followed by the second Friday singles rubber between Tucker Vorster and Turkish number Marcel Ilhan, who also have never player each other.
The draw for the first round Group 2 Europe/Africa tie was made at the Tie site on Thursday and Fritz Wolmarans’ name was drawn for the first singles rubber by tie Referee, Adel Borghei of Iran.
The absence of Kevin Anderson once again has somewhat weakened the South African line-up but Captain Earl Grainger and his team remain upbeat about their chances this weekend. “We have the best possible side experience wise for this tie. We all know that Kevin would add great value to our team but with him not being available for Davis Cup we need to work with what we have and I believe the team we have assembled for this weekend are the best for the job, are passionate about playing for their country and will do us all proud there is a very happy mood in the camp and my boys are looking extremely sharp, much better than they were on the weekend when they arrived and are ready to give their all this weekend.”
The most senior South African player in the team Raven Klaasen said he was happy that Ruan had been named as his partner for Saturday as the two have played successfully together before.
“I see this as an opportunity to nail down the tie in the doubles rubber 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.”
This is the first time that the two nations have met in Davis Cup competition.

The playing program;
Friday singles (start 12h00 noon): Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs Cem Ilkel (Tur) followed by Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. Marsel Ilhan (Tur),
Saturday doubles (start 14h00): Raven Klaasen (RSA) and Ruan Roelofse (RSA) vs. Baris Erguden (Tur) and Anil Yuksel (Tur).
Sunday reverse singles (12h00 noon): Fritz Wolmarans (RSA) vs. Marsel Ilhan (Tur) followed by Tucker Vorster (RSA) vs. Cem Ilkel (Tur).

Teams
South Africa: Fritz Wolmarans, Tucker Vorster, Ruan Roelofse and Raven Klaasen. Captain: Earl Grainger
Turkey: Marsel Ilhan, Cem Ilkel, Baris Erguden and Anil Yuksel Captain: Haluk Akkoyun


SOUTH AFRICA VERSUS TURKEY DAVIS CUP TIE LIVE ON SUPERSPORT

SUPERSPORT

Johannesburg, South Africa - Good news for South African tennis fans is that the Europe/Africa Zone 2 Davis Cup tie against Turkey will be shown live on SuperSport 8 on Friday,Saturday and Sunday.

New SA captain Earl Grainger and his team of Fritz Wolmarans, Tucker Vorster, Raven Klaasen and Ruan Roelofse are currently in Mersin, Turkey
where they will take on Marsel Ilhan, Cem Ilkel, Baris Erguden and Anil Yuksel. The tie will be played indoors on hard court. The two players who stand out for each team are Klaasen for South Africa, placed No 29 in the world doubles ranking, and Ilhan for Turkey, the world No 77 ranked singles player.

Play begins at noon on Friday and will see SA No 1 Wolmarans play Turkey’s No 2 Ilkel. That will be followed by Vorster against Ilhan. The doubles rubber will be played on Saturday, staring at 14h00, and will pit Klaasen and Roelofse of SA against Erguden and Yuksel of Turkey. The
doubles teams can be altered up to one hour before the start of play. The reverse singles will begin at noon on Sunday and Wolmarans will kick
off the day’s proceedings against Ilhan after which Vorster will come up against Ilkel.

With Kevin Anderson unavailable for the tie captain Earl Grainger is happy to have the strongest available team at his disposal. Gavin Crookes, President and acting CEO of Tennis South (TSA), said he was delighted SuperSport had agreed to televise the tie live. “These are young players and most of them are relatively unknown to the public. This will give South African tennis fans the opportunity to see some of our new players in
action and hopefully we will see them perform at their best. “It is always tricky to play a tie away from home but I understand the
spirit of the team is high and they are all looking forward to representing the country.”


SOUTH AFRICA JUNIORS QUALIFY FOR AFRICA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Johannesburg, South Africa - South Africa has qualified for the African Junior Championships (AJC) to be played in Tunisia from 10 to 22 March 2015. The team qualified by winning the Southern African Junior Championships which were held in Botswana from 9 to 18 January, 2015 where the South African junior players won ten and nine titles in the first tournament and second tournaments respectively.

“We were very impressed with the nearly clean sweep of titles at the Southern African Junior Championships and that has made us one of the big contenders for the African Championship crown” said Leon Freimond, Tennis South Africa High Performance Manager.

Four players who were rested for the AJC Qualifying in Botswana in 2015, namely Lara van der Merwe (GU12), twin sisters Zani and Lee Barnard (GU16) and Richard Thongoana (BU16) have been included in the team.

The teams are:
BU14: Charl Morgan (GC) & Joubert Klopper (FS)
GU14: Carmen Fichardt (FS) & Lara van der Merwe (NWP)
BU16: Richard Thongoana (GC) & Joshua Howard-Tripp (GE)
GU16: Lee Barnard (GN) & Zani Barnard (GN)

The coaches are:
Allan Karam (GN)
Terrey Schweitzer (GE)


SOUTH AFRICAN DAVIS CUP TEAM ARRIVE IN TURKEY IN GOOD SPIRITS

Mersin, Turkey - The main group of players making up the South African Davis Cup team arrived safely in Mersin, Turkey on Sunday ahead of this weekend’s Euro/Africa Group 2 Davis Cup tie.

“Fritz Wolmarans, Tucker Vorster and Ruan Roelofse have arrived all in good spirit” confirmed Tennis South Africa (TSA) Board Member Clark Coetzee who will be representing the national tennis association at the tie.
“ The guys have spent a lot of time together and also shared a room for most of the time they have been in Turkey over the past weeks playing tournaments leading up to the tie. Team spirit is high.”
“I had dinner with the team last night (Sunday) and they were extremely positive about being part of the team representing South Africa” confirmed Coetzee.

After winning the Futures doubles title last week in Antalya, Turkey, Roelofse and Vorster feel confident going into the tie.

The South African team will start their training today (Monday).

Raven Klaasen the South African doubles specialist will jet into Turkey and join his team mates late Monday afternoon.

Earl Grainger the South African Captain said that the facilities were very good. “We are very happy with our hotel and the stadium where we will be playing the tie. The facilities are great. After practice on Monday we will be able to give a better assessment of the hard indoor surface. My team are in real good spirit which will set a positive tone for the week.”

The tie will be played from 6-8 March at the Mersin Tennis Complex in Mersin, Turkey.

The teams are as follows;

Turkey
Marsel Ilhan (Singles 77 Doubles 1211)
Cem Ilkel (Singles 404 Doubles 448)
Baris Erguden (Singles 600 Doubles 662)
Anil Yuksel (Singles 816 Doubles 560)
Captain: Haluk Akkoyun

South Africa
Fritz Wolmarans (Singles 427 Doubles 1166)
Tucker Vorster (Singles 446 Doubles 403)
Ruan Roelofse (Singles 453 Doubles 248)
Raven Klaasen (Doubles 29)
Captain: Earl Grainger

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