King to bring WTT to South Africa
Thursday, 12 September 2002
King brings WTT to SA
Tennis legend Billie Jean King says she considers it an honour to bring World TeamTennis (SUBS: correct spelling) to South Africa. The concept will be introduced for the first time in the country at this year's Nike Junior Tour International Masters to be played at Sun City from November 3 to 9. Teams from 23 countries will be at the event for Under-12 and 14 boys and girls and the initial three days will be devoted to TeamTennis.
Speaking from Chicago in the US on Wednesday King, winner of 12 Grand Slam singles titles, said TeamTennis will help make the youngsters better champions in life, and not just tennis.
"I think we (TeamTennis) are a positive addition to the tournament. It helps young people understand teamwork. While playing singles does get most of the attention in tennis, 60
percent of our scoring is in doubles.
"Most of these kids will be playing mixed doubles for the first time and we find that although it is a little strange to them at the beginning, after two or three games they will be into it.
"It's a lot different when you look at the person next to you as a colleague rather than as an opponent. TeamTennis is all about relationships and hopefully out of this because of the format, many of them will become friends for life."
However, the cherry on top for King is that the event is taking place in South Africa. "I was fortunate to play at Ellis Park, Durban and Cape Town when I was younger.
"South Africa has such a rich history in tennis and has produced such incredible players over the years. I haven't been there for about 11 years and I am looking forward to coming back.
"South Africa has changed a lot recently and it is important for all the kids to understand the history. I always tell people that the more you know about your history, the more you know about
She was also delighted the event will be played at Sun City.
"It's a great place. If the kids can't have a good time there, they can't have a good time any place."
There is also a strong connection between World TeamTennis and South Africa in that Ilana Kloss, one of the country's leading players in the 70s, heads the company.
"Ilana will be there for the tournament as will another South African, David Egdes, who is part of our company."
There will be four youngsters from each country at the event -- a boy and girl in each of the under-12 and under-14 age groups -- and they will play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against the other countries in a team competition.
Thereafter the players will participate in the normal singles play for the NJT International Masters. - Sapa
I am very excited. I hope to get event tickets in Durban. I wonder if BJK will be there. I would really love to meet her.