SA wheelchair tennis superstar Kgothatso Montjane is confident of going a step further in this year's Australian Open after reaching the semifinal round for the first time at last year’s event.
The 34-year-old from Seshego in Limpopo said this week her confidence was up as she looks forward to competing again, “Honestly, I am just looking forward to compete again, and I want to do my best, of course, to finish at a better place than I did last year.
The wheelchair tennis Australian Open runs from February 14 to 17 at Melbourne Park.
Touching down in Australia on Wednesday, where she will play in two International Tennis Federation level 3 series events — the Victorian Open (February 3-6) and Melbourne Open (February 8-11) — ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year, Montjane said she had prepared well and is ready to challenge the world's best.
“Preparations were good and I am ready to be back competing again and trying to get back playing at the higher level,” Montjane said.
“My goal for the tour is to reach finals or win the competitions.”
The current world No 6 reached her first Australian Open semifinal after thrashing German former world No1 Sabine Ellerbrock in straight sets at last year’s event. Montjane triumphed 6-0 6-1 after just 69 minutes. Japan's Yui Kamiji ended Montjane's strong run with a 6-3 7-5 win in the semifinal.
Like her peers, Montjane will also have to contend with the new challenge of quarantine. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Australian government has stated that all players arriving in the country must self-isolate for 14 days before they can play any professional tournaments.
“It’s quite a different set-up this year with the quarantine but it gives us a chance to acclimatise,” Montjane said. “The rules are quite tough but it’s the best way to keep everyone safe, including the Australian citizens.”
The players will be allowed five hours outside their hotel rooms a to train during the 14-day quarantine.