Tennis South Africa (TSA) and the University of Pretoria (TUKS) have announced an exciting new partnership that sees TuksSport and TuksTennis become the official home for the TSA wheelchair Tennis high performance programme, from November 2019 onwards.
The innovative collaboration between the national tennis federation and one of Africa’s leading tertiary institutions, sees five of South Africa’s most high-profile high-performance wheelchair tennis athletes basing themselves at the University and having access to Tuks’ world class facilities and sports science programs – covering:
• Use of the TuksTennis facility, including coaching support.
• Accommodation for selected athletes.
• The provision of extensive sport science and medical services at the Tuks High Performance Centre, partnering with the Sport Exercise Medicine and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI) – including access to a sports physician, sport science testing, biomechanical assessments, a strength and conditioning programme, massage, nutrition and sports psychology.
The athletes who will benefit from this programme include: US Open finalist Kgothatso Montjane, two-time Grand slam champion Lucas Sithole, Mariska Venter, Evans Maripa and Donald Ramphadi. TSA’s intention is to widen this partnership in year two, to support other promising Wheelchair Tennis athletes in South Africa.
“Our new relationship aims to create an integrated world class performance support programme for our elite wheelchair tennis athletes and we feel that Tuks is a perfect fit to achieve this. We are delighted with the working relationship that with have started to build with the TuksSport team and I predict this is a partnership that will expand into many other areas,” said Richard Glover, Chief Executive Officer.
“Wheelchair Tennis in South Africa we believe to be flagship programme within the para sport offering in our country. The successes of these athletes are already well known, making us excited that we could partner with TSA and become the home for these athletes. TuksSport prides itself in creating an environment for optimal and sustainable sporting performance and we believe the athletes will thrive in this space,” said Professor Tawana Kupe, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for wheelchair tennis - and for us and other upcoming players to be able to develop," said promising quad player Donald Ramphadi.
TSA formally took over full operations and management of wheelchair tennis in the country in July of this year. Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) had previously 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. TSA is now looking to build on the strong foundations laid by WTSA - starting with this new Tuks partnership.