With only a week to go until the BNP Paribas Open de France, South African wheelchair tennis ace Lucas Sithole is hoping to perform better than he did last year in Paris. Sithole will be the only South African representing the country in the top-flight Super Series event which takes place from June 23-28. The tournament 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 the draw of 24.
The 28-year old was eliminated in straight sets by his doubles partner Dylan Alcott of Australia in the semi-finals at last year’s event and also lost at the same stage in the doubles too, but after being a victor at the Airports Company South Africa SA Open, Japan Open and winning three titles in Korea this month, Sithole looks primed to conquer the clay courts of Paris. Alcott has always been a challenge for Sithole who has beaten the 24-year-old twice in the ten-clash singles matches they met. The pair however have enjoyed doubles success in 2015, winning January’s event in Sydney, Australia and Japan in May.
World number two Alcott is not the only challenger for Sithole this year with Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne and the USA’s David Wagner currently ranked third and first in the world respectively. Sithole believes he could not have possibly done anything more to prepare himself for the event starting on Tuesday. Sithole says: ‘I have been on tour for over four weeks and that to me serves as the best preparation ahead of the French Open. I am in a good form and I look forward to the challenge in Paris. I really want to do well. I love playing in the French Open and I am hoping to do better this year.’
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