ATP Tour

Plans in place to lure tennis stars to SA

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Richard Glover (Photo: BLD Communications)
Richard Glover (Photo: BLD Communications)

Cape Town - The relative arid desert that has become top level tournament tennis in South Africa for more than five years has in its sights the prospect of a much-needed reviving, if not totally revitalising breakthrough oasis appearing before the end of the year.

And behind the overdue initiative is Tennis South Africa (RSA) CEO Richard Glover, who revealed there were plans in the pipeline to stage an event that will include a number of the world's leading men's players in South Africa in December.

"Although not an official ATP tournament," said the TSA CEO, "we are trying to get a number of players who are well known on the international ATP circuit to the country before the end of the year.

"Don't expect Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal," added Glover, "but the players we hope to secure would certainly boost South African tennis and excite the local fans."

Although Glover was loathe to name a potential venue, Johannesburg or Cape Town would appear best-suited for the high-profiled tournament that could include among its participants a couple of South Africans to engender interest.

And it would certainly be a coup if TSA could persuade current world No 8, Kevin Anderson, to make himself available, with Anderson ironically the last winner of a South African Open title when the event was held at the Monte Casino Entertainment Centre in Johannesburg in 2011.

Apart for the critical issue of obtaining sponsorship to lure players to South Africa, TSA is probably hoping to have an ace up its sleeve in that the tournament in South Africa could act as one of the warm-up events for the Australian Open Grand Slam extravaganza in Melbourne that gets underway in January.

As for South Africa, there has not been an ATP tournament in the country since Canada's Vasek Pospisil  and Hungary's Timea Babos won the men's and women's singles at the now-defunct Soweto Open in 2013.

And, who knows, it could be the forerunner of an official ATP Tour tournament in the not-too-distant future if this tip-toe on to the international arena proves a success…

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