Johannesburg - World number four wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole is delighted to be taking part at this year’s French Open Super Series starting in Paris on Tuesday.
After missing last year’s Roland Garros competition due to fever and flu, the 30-year-old will be on the hunt for a victory in Paris after he captured his first French Open title with Australian Dylan Alcott in the doubles in 2015.
Sithole is in good form ahead of the French challenge following a sterling performance earlier this year when he clinched his second SA Open quads singles title at Ellis Park Tennis Stadium in Johannesburg.
“I am working hard with the hope to win my first French Open singles title and to up my ranking. I am going to give it my all and look forward to the tournament,” said Sithole.
The three-time SA Sportsman with a Disability of the Year winner is oozing confidence.
“It’s really a great opportunity to improve my ranking and move closer to a ranking that will qualify me for the US Open,” he told City Press.
Sithole said the Toyota Open International, which ends on Sunday and in which he was taking part in Île de Ré, was a good warm-up for his onslaught at the French Open.
He said it was an added advantage that this event was also “played on the same surface as the French Open”.
The triple amputee said: “My goal is to come to these tournaments and implement my game all the time. When doing this, I know I can beat anyone and so I am looking forward to any challenge that comes my way.”
The Johannesburg-based player’s coach, Holger Losch, told City Press he was satisfied with Sithole’s performance in practice.
“We are both satisfied with the preparation. Lucas has been working on various aspects of his game.
"This [tournament] gives him a great opportunity to put them into play.”
When asked about the weaknesses of the only disabled sportsman to be nominated as SA Sports Star of the Year, the coach said:
“Consistency is one of the main focuses at the moment...his consistency in results overall as well as his consistency in each and every point.”
The BNP Paribas Open de France Super Series is one of six top wheelchair tennis events on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis tour and has attracted eight of the world’s top 10 quad players in a draw of 24.