16 Mar 2018

South Africa to launch beach tennis with new ITF series

News Article

Photo: BLD CommunicationsIain Smith, Bheki Khumalo, Craig Newman and Michelle Price at TSA's beach tennis launch in Johannesburg

Tennis South Africa is set to officially launch beach tennis across the country this year, with a series of three new ITF tournaments to be staged in the country in May.

The governing body for tennis in South Africa has spent the last 12 months trialling the sport and is now stepping up its commitment to the format by launching four new events – including two ITF prize money events and a further ITF ranking event - this year.

The Arnold Classic – the first ever ITF international prize money event in South Africa – will take place in Johannesburg on 17-20 May, ahead of two further TSA Beach Tennis Classic events in the city on 22-23 May and 25-27 May.

An initial event – the Rand Show TSA Beach Tennis Challenge – will also be held over the upcoming Easter weekend, providing a unique opportunity for anyone to take part in a professionally-organised beach tennis event. The winners of both the men’s and women’s events will secure the opportunity to represent South Africa, all expenses paid, at the ITF Beach Tennis World Championships in Russia in August.

In another positive move, Tennis South Africa has also confirmed Vodacom as an official live streaming partner of beach tennis, with the Rand Show TSA Beach Tennis Challenge the first to be streamed live.

Tennis South Africa’s move toward beach tennis, which is played and actively promoted in 47 countries worldwide, has been taken based on the belief that the sport could play a crucial role in the growth of tennis in the country – as a fun, exciting and accessible route in to the sport.

“Visit any beach in South African during the festive season and you will see a wide variety of people playing a simple form of beach tennis - with a paddle and ball,” said Richard Glover, CEO of TSA. “What this demonstrates is that beach tennis is fun, easy to play and appeals to all ages. It offers a simple and easy entry point into our sport and we think it is a dynamic platform from which to grow tennis in South Africa.”

“We are delighted to welcome South Africa as an active member of the ITF Beach Tennis Tour,” said Jackie Nesbitt, Executive Director, ITF Circuits. “Tennis South Africa has approached the inclusion of Beach Tennis within its portfolio of activities in a measured and responsible manner, but its enthusiasm for the sport shines through.  

“The proposed 2018 schedule includes both non-prize money tournaments for entry level players but also offers prize money tournaments to incentivise those keen to progress in the international rankings.

“The fact that we will see a South African team in this year’s ITF Beach World Team Championships is particularly exciting and certainly the ITF sees enormous scope for growth of Beach Tennis within the continent. We wish Tennis South Africa and its partners and players every success with the coming season and look forward to expanded activity in future years.”