Soweto Open coup

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

Authur Ashe, the legendary African-American tennis player would be smiling from his grave with the news that four black players will get a chance to play in a major tournament at the tennis courts named after him.

The South African Tennis Association (Sata) announced a pre-qualifying tournament for the upcoming Soweto Open for players from previously disadvantaged communities yesterday.

This pre-qualifier will take place from Friday to Sunday and the four finalists will then be awarded wild-card entries into the qualifying draw of the Soweto Open. The men's open will take place from April 11 to 18, and the women's event between April 25 and May 3.

After his controversial decision to play in the SA Open at Ellis Park in the 1970s, Ashe sponsored the tennis complex in Soweto in order to assist budding young black tennis players.

"This is one way of making sure that the late Arthur's dream becomes a reality. We are calling out to all those interested to register for the event," said Ian Smith, chief executive of Sata.

To participate, players must be 14 years or older. Selection will be in accordance with current national rankings in open and age categories. A R10 fee is payable at the complex between 8am and 9am on Friday.