Montjane keen to move on from Paralympic upset, ready for SA Spring Open

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South African wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane
South African wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane
Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images

Tennis South Africa (TSA) is gearing up for the SA Spring Open, which is set to get under way from 20 to 26 September at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) prize-money combined event encompasses both able-bodied and wheelchair tennis players with the event consisting of an ITF $25 000 World Tennis Tour tournament.

The tournament returns after a Covid-disrupted 2020 campaign and this year's event will be held under strict Covid-19 protocols and without spectators. 

The SA Spring Open has attracted an impressive entry with over 200 participants from 27 countries and a strong South African representation across all events.

Reigning wheelchair champion Kgothatso Montjane will join SA's number one Chanel Simmonds as they look to defend their titles, with Montjane coming off the back of a stellar season.

Montjane finished runner-up at Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year and went on to represent South Africa at the Tokyo Paralympics.

The 35-year-old did not have the Paralympics she envisioned as she lost in the singles second round after losing in the doubles quarter-finals with fellow compatriot Mariska Venter.

"Unfortunately, it's the nature the sport, things don't always go as planned and the most important thing is to be able to move on and start over."

However, Montjane is excited to be back home and hopes to get over her jet lag in time to retain her title.

"It's not about the confidence but being grateful to have this tournament back on the home soil and another opportunity to compete here at home," she said.

"I have a lot of points on stake to defend, so it's of importance that I would like to defend them.

"There is not enough time and I didn't have time at all. I'm still jet-lagged, but I'm looking forward to take it a match at a time."

Meanwhile, Venter will also line up in the women's competition and join fellow Paralympians Evans Maripa and Leon Els in the star-studded field.

The able-bodied women's field will be headed by the country's top-ranked player Simmonds against an all-star women's line-up, including Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France, Japanese Yuki Naito, Valentini Grammatikopoulou from Greece and British Jodie Anna Burrage.

Heading up the men's field will be Russian Konstantin Kravchuk, who will be looking to hunt his first title in South Africa.

Reigning champion Benjamin Lock (467) will return to Johannesburg to defend his title.

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