Montjane gears up for Paralympics action

SA’s wheelchair tennis star uses French Open to prepare

SA wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane, won the quarterfinal match against American Dana at the weekend. Montjane is using the event to prepare for the Paralympics in Japan.
SA wheelchair tennis star Kgothatso Montjane, won the quarterfinal match against American Dana at the weekend. Montjane is using the event to prepare for the Paralympics in Japan.
Image: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images

SA wheelchair ace Kgothatso Montjane is using the French Open as part of her preparation for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The Games will take place in the capital of Japan from August 24 to September 5 and the SA number one-ranked wheelchair tennis star wants to be in great shape for the competition.

The 35-year-old Limpopo-born star won her quarterfinal encounter against American Dana Mathewson 6-3, 6-4 at the weekend.

Speaking from Paris, Montjane told Sowetan she would make the most of playing at the Grand Slam even to prepare for the Games.

“This was the first time I am participating in a competitive tournament in my new RGK wheelchair donated by Macsteel (South African steel products producer). This is my lucky charm,” said Montjane.

Commenting on her win, she said the lack of game time in SA had increased her hunger to win.

“I don’t have any targets in these tournaments, but my goal is to do well. I have not played on clay since last year October and I had only two hours to practise on it before my first match. Normally when I come to Roland Garros, I come to improve on clay and do better. My challenge on clay is that I get to play on it every time I come here, I have no access to clay at home at all.”

Making the singles semis is a big deal for the modest athlete and she hopes her progress in the French Open would inspire other players who are still stranded at home without game time.

“At the moment, every tournament counts towards the Paralympics, I want to get as many matches as I can before the games in Tokyo. The aim is to get the mind back to being competitive. The standard of competition is very high here, it is the best eight in the world – so you can imagine.”

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