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Ramphadi returns to competitive tennis

Rising South African wheelchair tennis star Donald Ramphadi is scheduled to return to competitive tennis along with quad ace Lucas Sithole and US Open semi-finalist Kgothatso Montjane, and compete in two international tournaments in Europe.

The trio jetted off on Sunday and will begin their excursion at Sardinia Open in Italy from Thursday to Saturday, followed by the French Riviera Open to be staged in Biot Sophia Antipolis, France from 25-29 September.

Sardinia Open, an International Tennis Federation I and French Riviera Open, an ITF II tournament forms part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and offer important ranking points.

The 25-year-old Ramphadi who was classified earlier this year as a quad, last competed in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup at Apeldoorn, Netherlands in June, where he impressed defeating Japanese world No17 Shota Kawano. The Limpopo-born star also shocked world No5 Heath Davidson, pushing the Australian to the edge with a 7-6 (5) 6-7(4) 3-6 thriller.

Ramphadi returns to the game after three months of not competing in tournaments due to Wheelchair Tennis South Africa’s current financial constraints, following the loss of their long-time sponsor Airports Company South Africa, 19 months ago.

Ramphadi, who hails from Mokgapeng, a small village in Tzaneen said he was ready for the forthcoming tournaments although he still needs to know most of the quads players’ games since he was only classified in April this year.

‘I’ve been training very hard with my coach Holger Losch, so I feel ready to compete. Its not going to be easy because I haven’t played most of the quad players, as I was only classified early this year and only played the World Team Cup since the classification,’ said Ramphadi.

‘It was very tough not knowing when you will be competing again, but I think it was very important for me to train and shape my game, so I’m confident I will do well,’ Ramphadi added.

PHOTO: Rising wheelchair tennis star Ramphadi, by Anna Vasalaki


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