KZN South Coast to host seniors tennis tour

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There is free entry for all spectators and all relevant Covid-19 protocols will be in place.

Showcasing itself as a top sporting destination, the South Coast has been chosen as the venue for this year’s local Tennis South Africa (TSA) Seniors Tour. It is a national tennis contest, but open to and hopefully drawing international participants 30 years and older, which takes place from Thursday to Sunday, 10 to 13 December. The tour, which is a qualifier for the world championships, is being hosted by TSA, KZN Tennis and the Ugu Tennis Association (UTA) at Umtentweni, Uvongo, Douglas Mitchell and Southbroom tennis clubs.

“We are so delighted to be one of the locations hosting this year’s prestigious National Seniors Tour,” said CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT), Phelisa Mangcu. “The South Coast’s many top-quality sporting facilities form part of our destination offerings and we are excited to attract some national players, who have already entered, and, hopefully, some international players.

“With so many sport competitions either postponed or cancelled in 2020, we anticipate many visitors will take advantage of the opportunity to support our local tennis stars at the event. There is free entry for all spectators and all relevant Covid-19 protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of all attendees and participants.”

The ITF (International Tennis Federation) Seniors Tour has 27 500 registered players from 70 nations, competing in 502 tournaments worldwide and culminating in the annual world championships. To qualify for one’s country, there is a ranking system with participants earning points for first, second and third place, as well as points for representing one’s province. The tour caters for three age categories: Young seniors (35 to over 45-years-old); seniors (50 to over 60-years-old); and super seniors (65 to over 85-years-old).

 

“UGU South Coast and TSA are promoting this tournament across all 14 ‘tennis provinces’ in South Africa, in an effort to grow the sport,” explained Ian Ackerman, president of UGU Tennis Association. “There are already about 18 000 senior players in the country, so we stand a good chance when competing internationally.”

Ackerman said entries are currently being registered with TSA with the hope that some top contestants will make an appearance. Previous local players who’ve represented their country in the ITF Seniors Tour include Ralph Burles, Gules Salottolo, Raj Naganna, Sharon van der Schyff, Martyn Nagtegaal, Hannelie Nagtegaal, Zelda Smook, as well as Ackerman himself.

Another valuable aspect forming part of the competition are the development programmes whereby children from previously disadvantaged communities are invited to the four clubs to learn tennis from professional coaches, with all relevant kit and equipment provided at the clubs’ cost. “This is a really great opportunity for locals and visitors to witness the tennis talent within South Africa, and there are also entries available for first-time seniors looking to compete,” said Ackerman.

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