Tennis South Africa (TSA) on Monday formally took over operations and management of the sport of wheelchair tennis in the country. Wheelchair Tennis has for the previous 14 years been run as an independent business by Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA).
Earlier this year WTSA announced it was planning to hand over the reins of its programmes and operations to TSA, and the membership of both organisations recently unanimously approved resolutions for the transfer of the business – effective the 1st July 2019.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa has operated as a separate entity since its inception back in 2005 and has delivered some outstanding results on the international stage. South Africa’s wheelchair tennis programme is considered by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as a global success story. WTSA recently saw its quads and women’s team make history at the ITF World Team Cup by becoming the first African teams to reach the semi-final rounds. The quads team went on to clinch a bronze medal, which was also a first for Africa.
The country today boasts some of the world’s best wheelchair tennis players, including former world number 2 and two-time Grand Slam champion, Lucas Sithole, Wimbledon semi-finalist, Kgothatso Montjane, former world number 11, Evans Maripa, former world number 1 junior, Mariska Venter, and many more – with now over 500 active players across the country.
WTSA Chairperson, Muditambi Ravele, thanked players, coaches, employees, partners and other stakeholders for the amazing work and contribution over the years, “It’s been a challenging but great journey and we are very grateful to our players, coaches, employees and partners for their support and commitment over the years, as well as their unwavering dedication to the sport and most importantly, to player development”.
Ravele said she believes the transfer will open doors to more opportunities, “We are excited to hand over a great programme. This transfer will bring great opportunities for tennis as a whole.”
TSA President, Gavin Crookes, applauded WTSA for their achievements and welcomed the inclusion of wheelchair tennis as a key department in the Federation, “WTSA has indeed done a tremendous job. We are pleased that the completion of the transfer of business, including a very thorough due diligence process, has been realized and concluded successfully. We are stronger together and look forward to building on the excellent foundations established by WTSA.”
Wheelchair tennis players captured at the Tennis South Africa offices with the staff and TSA CEO Richard Glover. From L-R: (Back) Annette Terry, Richard Glover, Kgothatso Montjane, Nancy Neti, Ewald Lamprecht, Andre de Beer and (Front) Lucas Sithole.