Duo get SA Open wild cards
Johannesburg - The South African Tennis Association (SATA) have announced that Davis Cup players Rik de Voest and Izak van der Merwe have been given wild cards into the main draw of the South African Tennis Open to be played at Montecasino in Johannesburg from February 1 to 7.
The third wild card will be awarded to the winner of the SA Nationals tournament to be played at the German Club in Johannesburg from January 23 to 29.
“The awarding of the wild cards is based on the players current international ATP rankings,” explained SATA chief executive Ian Smith.
With their world rankings at 238 and 283 respectively, De Voest and van der Merwe would have had to earn their places in the main draw by winning through the qualifying tournament.
“SATA announced earlier that they were committed to awarding the wild cards to South Africans which would help the continued progress as well as affording them the opportunity to compete in front of their home crowd.” Continued Smith.
The decision to give the third wild card to the winner of the SA Nationals is a huge boost for that event, as it gives one player the chance to gain a place in a R3.5-million international tournament.
The deadline for singles entries and withdrawals for the SA Nationals will be on Monday, January 18 and the final acceptance list will be published by Wednesday, January 20. The qualifying draws and order of play will be available on Thursday, January 21.
All players entering the 2010 SA Nationals must have a valid SATA number and be a registered Tournament Player. (Junior or Open) To obtain a SATA number and become a registered member, log on to www.satennis.co.za. Only on-line entries will be accepted via the same website. The tournament will have a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw. Doubles sign-in closes at noon on January 25.
Entry fee: R120 for qualifying and R200 for the main draw. All players pay R120 upon entry and the balance of R80 will be deducted from any prize money.
Frenchmen Gael Monfils and last year’s runner-up, Jeremy Chardy, Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez and Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer are among the players who will line up for the SA Open.