Photo: Reg CaldecottLucas Sithole (RSA)
Lucas Sithole made history in 2013 as the first African player to win both an ITF Super Series wheelchair tennis title and a Grand Slam wheelchair tennis title. Last Sunday he was among those to be presented with a national order by South African President Jacob Zuma.
Sithole fell under a train at the age of 12, losing both his legs and half of
his right arm and made his ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour debut in 2006. In between his matches at this week’s Airports Company South Africa SA Open, the world No. 2 ranked quad singles player gave us an insight into his life on and off the tennis courts...
If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you be?
A musician. I have my own band with my four cousins and younger brother called “Amathalente Amahle”, which means “Beautiful Talents”. Our style of music is called maskandi. It’s basically traditional sounds. We’ve released one album called Ngidla Usizi.
Which website do you check the most?
What do you regard as your biggest achievement in tennis?
Being ranked number two in the world.
If a movie was made about your life, which actor would you want to play you?
What do you do when you’re not playing tennis?
I enjoy watching movies and listening to music.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
I love going to my family home in Newcastle in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. That’s the best holiday for me.
Who is the most famous person in your phone book?
South African television sports presenter Carol Tshabalala.
If you were singing karaoke, what song would you pick?
“I believe I can fly” by R Kelly.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
None whatsoever. I’m not superstitious at all.
What was the last music you downloaded on iTunes?
I love house music, especially DJ Fresh.
If you could pick three people from history to have dinner with, who would they be?
Definitely Nelson Mandela. Then Oliver Tambo, and my late father Mzingeleni Sithole.
What has been your best moment on court?
Beating world No. 1 David Wagner for the first time in South Africa in the semi-finals of the 2013 Airports Company South Africa SA Open.
What has been your best moment off court as a result of your tennis achievements?
In 2013 I was voted the Disabled Sportsman of the Year, and I also became the first disabled sportsman to be nominated as the overall Sportsman of the Year in South Africa. And then of course, being presented the Order of Ikhamanga Silver by President Jacob Zuma last month.
Tell us something about you that we don’t know…
I’m a very shy person and I like my space.