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Wild cards for SA trio

The South African trio of Rik de Voest, Izak van der Merwe and Fritz Wolmarans have all been given wild cards into the 2011 SA Tennis Open to be played at Montecasino in Johannesburg between 31 January and 6 February.

The announcement was made by tournament director Ian Smith, CEO of the SA Tennis Association. ÔÇ£We took the decision to give the wild cards to the three highest ranked South African players. In addition, Rik and Izak, have been stalwarts in the South African Davis Cup team over the last few years and they have earned their wild cards,ÔÇØ said Smith.

Van der Merwe is currently the highest ranked player at 174, De Voest is at 181 and Wolmarans at 275. ÔÇ£I’m very happy to receive a wild card for the 2011 SA Open,ÔÇØ said Van der Merwe. “It is a great opportunity for me to play at home and in the high altitude and I hope to put a good result together. Over the last few years I have had success at home and I would like to build on that at the SA Open.ÔÇØ

That brings to four, the number of South Africans in the direct draw as Kevin Anderson, currently ranked at No 61, has also entered the tournament. There could be more locals after the qualifying tournament is played over the weekend of 29-30 January. Anderson is currently playing the Brisbane International tournament in Australia.

Already confirmed for the tournament is last year’s champion, Feliciano Lopez of Spain, Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Paul-Henri Mathieu and Germany’s Rainer Schuettler.