Tuesday, 05 January 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa. – South African top ranked wheelchair tennis players Kgothatso Montjane, Evans Maripa and quad ace Lucas Sithole have jetted off to Australia for four major season opening international tennis tournaments, Queensland Open, Sydney Open, Melbourne Open and Australian Open Grand slam.
Montjane and Maripa will be hoping for glory at the Queensland Open, an International Tennis Federation (ITF) level 2 event and part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour to be staged from 7-10 January. The two grabbed the seasoning opening event last year in Brisbane, Australia where they clinched both the men’s and women’s singles titles. Montjane also bagged doubles title with Lucy Shuker.
The two Limpopo stars will also take part in the Apia International Sydney Wheelchair Tennis Open, a Super Series event and one of the only six tournaments of this caliber staged globally. Lucas Sithole will also participate at this topflight event which will take place from 12-16 January and will be hoping to get passed Australian Dylan Alcott who defeated him in the Sydney Open finals last year. “I was a runner-up last year after losing to Dylan but I have worked hard and hope to bring the title home”, commented Sithole. Sithole and doubles partner Alcott won the quad’s doubles title. In the same event Montjane reached both the women’s singles and doubles quarter finals with Maripa also making it to the men’s doubles quarter finals.
Montjane will be looking for another title in Melbourne at the ITF level 2 event to be staged from 18-21 January. The world no.8 and doubles partner Brit’s Lucy Shuker were triumphant taking the women’s doubles title in last year’s event. Montjane also reached the women’s singles semi-final losing to world no.2 Aniek van Koot (NED). Maripa lost in the quarter final to world no.7 Maikel Scheffers. Sithole finished third in the quads singles.
Sithole says he is primed and will be eyeing a title at the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open in Melbourne from the 27-30 January after it ended bitter sweet for him last year after finishing the round robin format with 2 losses and 1 win.