SA’s wheelchair tennis No1 rules her sport

2012-02-04 14:56

South Africa’s number one woman wheelchair tennis player Kgothatso Montjane is proving to be a dominant force on the international scene.

The 24-year-old this week returned from Australia where she clinched the doubles title in the Queensland Open and was the runner-up in the Adelaide Open.

Montjane has held the number one ranking in Africa for seven years and she was also unbeaten at the continent’s first World Team Cup last year.

“I want to be better than the day before. I think I can raise the level of my game every day,” Montjane said after the Aussie tour.

The Limpopo-born athlete is well aware of how her triumph over her disability impacts positively on others.

“It’s wonderful to hear and fulfilling that I can be an inspiration to children, and adults with or without disabilities,” Montjane said.

“I don’t look at myself as disabled. I’ve been like this my whole life and I’m used to it. I’m only aware of it when others mention it.”

She has proven to be a multi-skilled athlete as she has played table tennis, wheelchair basketball and thrown shot-put and discus.

“I hate losing and get angry with myself if I do but it helps me to win most times. Win-ning is a good feeling and gives me some relief,” she said.

Montjane’s success in Australia also rubbed off on her four South African teammates – Sydwell Mathonsi, Evans Maripa, Leon Els and Lucas Sithole – who all served up a storm at the four-nation tournament last week.

Mathonsi was a runner-up in the men’s second draw of the Melbourne Open.

Sithole won the singles and the doubles titles in the Adelaide Open and was second in the Melbourne Open.

In the Sydney Open – a Super Series event – Sithole was knocked out of the first round by Andrew Lapthorne of Britain, 6-4 6-4.

Lapthorne is ranked fourth in the world while Sithole holds the 10th spot.

Sithole went on to play the consolation draw and convincingly won in the finals against Azman Hasan from Malasia, 7-5 6-2.

Maripa reached the semi-finals of the consolation draw where he met fierce opponent, Yoshinobu Fujimoto from Japan and narrowly lost 4-6 5-7.

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