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SA’s Montjane makes Wimbledon history

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South Africa’s highest ranked wheelchair tennis women’s player Kgothatso Montjane has been handed a historic wildcard for the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament in London, Great Britain.

Montjane will make her singles debut at the championships this year as 16 of the world’s top players converge for the wheelchair tennis event at the third Grand Slam of 2018 from 12-15 July at The All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Eight of the current top 10 men and women on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Rankings are among the entries. With entries based on the rankings of 21 May, Montjane has been awarded the wildcard for the women’s event, having been world ranked No 8 at the entry cut-off.

She becomes the first African wheelchair tennis player to ever take part in the Wimbledon event.

The Limpopo-born star, who remains unbeaten by any other African player, will be heading to London brimming with confidence following a strong start to the season.

‘This is unbelievable, I’m honoured to be awarded the wildcard and join the star-studded lineup of the world’s best players at Wimbledon. This is a dream come true, I always wanted to play on grass and I cannot wait for the experience,’ said Montjane.

‘A big thank you to the wildcard committee for this opportunity, this is definitely a motivation to do more bigger things.’

The 32-year-old, born with a congenital birth defect, broke into the top six of the world rankings last season, and believes she’s been playing her best tennis but still needs to work harder.

‘I’ve been playing my best tennis from the last season, I just need to go back home and polish my game ahead of Wimbledon.’

Montjane recently made her third appearance at Roland-Garros last month and impressed, pushing Dutch world No 3 Aniek van Koot to the end in the women’s singles quarter-final round. Montjane lost 1-6, 6-3, 1-6 in nearly two hours but not before giving a tough fight to Van Koot and making her go the distance.

The left-hander hopes to stage her fighting spirit in London. ‘All I need to do is trust myself, my abilities to play well, and to fight against anybody on any surface,’ added Montjane who returns home next week from a three-week tour in France.

Photo: South Africa’s highest ranked wheelchair tennis women’s player Kgothatso Montjane has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon Grand Slam tournament in London, Great Britain, by Reg Caldecott


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