CENTURION, February 16, 2022 (Tennis SA Press Release)
Expanding in its ongoing attempt to provide opportunities for South African players, Tennis SA have announced two ITF World Tennis Tour women’s tournaments to be held in March and April.
The two back-to-back ITF World Tennis Tour events will take place at TuksTennis, University of Pretoria – during the weeks commencing the 27th March and 3rd April 2022, respectively.
The opening tournament will be the first ITF $60 000 World Tennis Tour event held in Africa, with the international body looking to stage more elite women’s tournaments by providing funding and support to upgrade existing events.
The second tournament, named after former SA No 1 and social activist Ilana Kloss, will return for the third year, but have been moved from Potchefstroom to Tshwane.
The Johannesburg-born Kloss, who won two Grand Slam doubles titles, is well-known for her work with long-time partner Billie Jean King in advocating for gender equality, inclusivity, and diversity.
“Representing South Africa was one of the highlights of my career and I am excited to see increased opportunities for South African players on our home soil,” Kloss said.
“The addition of a women’s ITF $60,000 level tournament to the annual calendar is a big step to growing tennis in South Africa and throughout the region and it is exciting to have this new event and the tournament in Tshwane that carries my name as part of the ITF World Tennis Tour.”
The two-events form part of the ITF World Tennis Tour, which is the umbrella name for all former ITF Pro Circuit (Futures) and junior circuit tournaments and serves as the ITF’s pathway from the junior game into the elite levels of professional tennis. As such, they are expected to attract a mix of the best South African juniors, local fledgling professionals, and international players from Africa and abroad.
Andre Homan, CEO of Tennis South Africa, said: “The Federation continues to work hard to bring more international tennis events to our country and we are very appreciative for the financial support from the ITF to be able to host an ITF $60,000 World Tour event for the very first time. This is a real boost for women’s tennis in the country.”
Steven Ball, Director of Sport at TuksSport is delighted to see these prestigious international tennis events hosted at the University: “Over the last few years, TuksSport, TuksTennis and Tennis South Africa have formed partnerships to improve the game of tennis, whilst providing a host venue that can facilitate high level and quality tennis.”
“This was initiated through our partnership in creating a home base for the High-Performance Wheelchair Tennis programme and has extended into the hosting of $15,000 and $25,000 events the last few years. Being able to once again partner with TSA in hosting these prestigious Women’s world tennis tour events, speaks to our partnership and more so the potential win-win relationships that can be forged between national federations, universities and the corporate sector,” added Ball.