Kings Beach set for sizzling tennis action

TOP OF THE CROP: Reigning ITF world champions and world No 1 team Alessandro Calbucci (ITA), left, and Michele Cappelletti (ITA) will return to SA this December to defend their title at the KIA Summer Slam Beach Tennis Tour
TOP OF THE CROP: Reigning ITF world champions and world No 1 team Alessandro Calbucci (ITA), left, and Michele Cappelletti (ITA) will return to SA this December to defend their title at the KIA Summer Slam Beach Tennis Tour
Image: TENNIS SA

Port Elizabeth is set for some sizzling tennis action when the first leg of the Kia Summer Slam Beach Tennis Tour heads to Kings Beach from Friday to Sunday.

Now in its second year, the event will see some of the world’s top beach tennis players competing along the Garden Route, with three more stops once the Bay leg has been completed.

Some of the stars include defending champions Alessandro Calbucci and Michele Cappaletti,  who currently occupy first and second positions in the International Tennis Federation rankings list.

World No 4 Nikita Burmakin and Italian world No 5 Tommaso Giovannini will also make their presence felt as they too gear up for an exciting few days of tennis.

South African fans will be treated to a festival of tennis during the four-leg tournament, with a healthy contingent of homegrown talent also set to showcase their skills in the sands covering the Garden Route coastline.

Home support will rally around local stars Michael de Jongh, Ryan Brookshaw and Jody Claassen in the men’s division, while Helga Jeske, Lynn Kiro and Kyla Yelverton will fly the national flag on the women’s side.

They will be looking to make a name for themselves on home turf, having represented SA at the recent World Team Championship in Moscow, where they finished in 15th place.

“Beach Tennis has shown significant growth in South Africa over the past year thanks to its fun, accessible format. Our local players are up there with the best in the world, and we look forward to seeing our local talent engaging with top global talent,” Christo Valentyn, of the sponsors, said.

At the heart of the action are the men’s and women’s draw of the ITF $35,000 (almost R510,000) tournament, which is one of the six largest prize money events on the tour.

In the two weeks leading up to the main event in Plettenberg Bay, two additional prize money events will be held in the Eastern Cape, starting with the ITF $3,000 (about R43,720) event at Kings Beach in Port Elizabeth, from December 6-8, and another event, in Cape St Francis, from December 10-12.

Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay will play host to a third ITF $3,000 event, from December 14-17, which acts as a warm-up tournament to the main event.

The four events which make up the KIA Summer Slam Beach Tennis Tour will all be ITF-ranking tournaments.

The event — driven by the all-new KIA Seltos — will also see KIA’s latest new compact SUV on display at all events on the circuit.

Schedule

December 6-8: Port Elizabeth (Kings Beach)

December 10-12: Cape St Francis (Cape St Francis Resort) and St Francis (Quayside Restaurant)

December 14-17:  Plettenberg Bay (Central Beach(

December  18-21:  Plettenberg Bay (Central Beach)

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