Tennis

Door shut on SA Open

2011-05-05 10:28
Kevin Anderson (File)
Johannesburg - There will be no South African Open tennis tournament on the ATP World Tour calendar in 2012 after the successful re-launch of the event at Montecasino over the past three years.

This stark news was confirmed on Wednesday when South African Tennis Association (SATA) CEO Ian Smith slammed the door shut on the possibility of the ATP reviewing an earlier decision to remove the South African Open from its 2012 and provisional 2013 World Tour programmes.

SATA have been engaged in last-ditch efforts to restore the status of the South African Open in negotiations with the ATP.

"Nothing has emerged," said Smith, "and we must now accept the reality that the South African Open will not appear on the ATP World Tour programme next year.

"We will continue to pursue talks with the ATP and every effort will be made to restore the status quo – or something similar – in 2013.

"But we are aware even this will not be easy in view of the ATP already having come out with a provisional programme for 2013."

Smith said the ATP sympathised with South African tennis over its dilemma, but sympathy alone will not help the situation.

There is also no doubt that not having a major South African Open with international status constitutes a major blow for tennis in the country.

SATA will now focus more attention and importance on the Davis Cup and South Africa's attempts to regain a place in the elite World Group of the event after an absence of more than a decade.

South Africa are scheduled to meet the Netherlands in a final Euro-Africa Group One tie at the University of Potchefstroom in July in an effort to qualify for the World Group playoffs for a third successive year.

SA No 1 Kevin Anderson is due to make his return to Davis Cup competition after three years after achieving an impressive mid-35 world ranking, so there is hope that the failed World Group playoff attempts against India and Germany could be reversed.

However, with the enhanced importance of the Davis Cup after the confirmed setback for the South African Open, it has been suggested SATA should have scheduled the Netherlands tie to a more high-profiled venue instead of venturing into new territory in Potchefstroom.

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