Johannesburg - South Africa’s highest-ranked female wheelchair tennis player Kgothatso “KG” Montjane’s mental strength could see her reach the final of the Australian Open. Her section of the Open starts on Wednesday.
So says her coach Gerald Stoffberg, who reckons more than the talent that top players the world over have, mental strength is usually the determining factor on match day.
“All top players are gifted but mental strength is more important,” Stoffberg said. “Whoever has the ability to handle the pressure wins".
Clinching more titles
He said the same goes for all players, even able-bodied tennis players, such as Roger Federer, whose mental strength usually gives him an edge over his opponents.
Ranked number eight in the world, Montjane won five titles last year and improved her ranking from number 10.
She came out tops in the singles and doubles at the Busan Open in South Korea in June last year.
Then she won the singles title at the Swiss Open in July, as well as the singles and doubles titles at the Airports Company SA Joburg Open in the same month.
Stoffberg believes that if she can be as consistent as she has been in the past few years she has a chance of clinching more titles this year.
The Australian Open features eight of the best women in the world and their level of competitiveness is very close.
Montjane was knocked out of the quarterfinals of the International Tennis Federation Sydney Open Super Series event last week by world number two Diede de Groot from the Netherlands.
The Limpopo-born star made history five years ago after becoming the first African player to compete in the invitation-only women’s draw of the Australian Open championships where she finished in the quarterfinals losing to Dutch player Aniek van Koot.
Montjane reached the quarterfinal round again in 2014 and 2016, losing to world number three Sabine Ellerbrock from Germany in 2014 and world number five Van Koot in 2016.
The 31-year-old remains unbeaten by any African player.