Johannesburg - A lot is expected this year from South African tennis star Chanel Simmonds after she ended last year with a bang.
The 25-year-old won two titles at the Digicall Futures tennis tournament in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, in November and last month.
Her latest victory came after she defeated Lou Adler from France 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. Her first title win saw her outclassing Hungarian Naomi Totka 6-1, 6-0.
Plans to qualify
The Johannesburg-born tennis star said she was satisfied with her performance even though she lost one title.
Despite competing in some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, Simmonds enjoys playing at home more than anywhere in the world.
“I really enjoy playing in my country. I feel special when my family watches me,” she said.
Simmonds has won a number of titles, including the Soweto Open in 2013.
The title came with a $50 000 (R600 000) prize.
The tournament – which was launched in 2009 – was held intermittently for a few years before it was cancelled.
Simmonds plans to qualify for the French Open next year.
She said she needed 220 points to secure a spot in the qualifying round of the tournament.
The Atlanta-based player reached her highest career ranking of 158 in 2013. She also competed in the qualifying stage of the US Open.
Travel all over the world
Simmonds picked up the racket for the first time when she was just nine years old.
Seeing her mother play tennis when she was younger inspired her to try her hand at the sport.
“At first I didn’t like playing tennis, but later, as I got better, I started to enjoy it".
While she was at Shangri-La Academy in Kempton Park, she got an offer to play in the US.
“I took the offer to join my fellow South African tennis players in the US".
She hasn’t looked back since then.
Simmonds said one of the things she enjoyed most about being a professional tennis player was that she was able to travel all over the world.