Wild cards benefit eight local players

GETS GAP: Rik de Voest. File photo: PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU
GETS GAP: Rik de Voest. File photo: PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU

EIGHT South Africans will benefit from wild cards in the men's and women's draw of the Soweto Open tennis tournament starting on Monday at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Jabavu.

EIGHT South Africans will benefit from wild cards in the men's and women's draw of the Soweto Open tennis tournament starting on Monday at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Jabavu.

The men and women played in separate tournaments last year, but this year the international event has been combined, with each winner netting R750000.

The finals will be played on April 17 and entry is free to the public.

No South Africans made it into the direct draw of either division and in the case of the men's draw, in particular, the South African Tennis Association stayed loyal to Davis Cup players and gave the wild cards to Rik de Voest, Izak van der Merwe, Raven Klaasen and Nikala Scholtz.

De Voest, Van der Merwe and Klaasen will all be in action at next month's Euro-Africa Zone Group 1 Davis Cup tie against Finland at Groenkloof in Pretoria.

The women's wildcards have gone to Chanel Simmonds, Kelly Anderson, Natasha Fourouclas and Christi Potgieter.

Meanwhile, South African tennis fans are in for a treat, with players such as former Australian Open finalist and Wimbledon semifinalist Rainer Schuettler of Germany in the line-up.

Joining Schuettler will be Slovakians Lukas Lacko and Karol Beck, India's Somdev Devvarman, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, Israel's Harel Levy and De Voest, Van der Merwe and Klaasen.

The City of Jourg, which is sponsoring the event, has organised a shuttle service from the Crowne Plaza in Sandton. It will operate from 8am to 4.30pm every day.

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