It’s been a tough past few days for South African wheelchair tennis star Evans Maripa, but he’s emerged from it more determined than ever to make an impact this year. Maripa was knocked out in the first round of the Airports Company South Africa SA Open at the Ellis Park Tennis Stadium this week. He was beaten by world number three Gordon Reid of Britain.
It was always going to be a tough encounter for Maripa, coming days after his mother passed away. “Personally it’s been tough. I lost my mom a week ago and I haven’t really trained very well. I arrived late for this tournament and then tried to get some last-minute training in before my first-round match, but I need time to get my rhythm going,” said Maripa. But Maripa left Ellis Park confident that he could still become a force in the men’s singles of international wheelchair tennis this year. The 23-year-old is currently ranked a career high 14th in the world and says he believes he can break into the top 10 this year.
“I’m confident I can break into the world top 10. It all comes down to the hard work I’ve been putting in. I know I can do it,” said Maripa. “My biggest goal this year is to play my first Grand Slam in the US Open in September.”
Photo credit: Reg Caldecott