Durban to host International tennis in long-awaited return to SA

SOUTH Africa’s top-ranked female player, Isabella Kruger, will keep the flag flying high in Durban, next month. | Supplied

SOUTH Africa’s top-ranked female player, Isabella Kruger, will keep the flag flying high in Durban, next month. | Supplied

Published May 22, 2024


International tennis makes a long-awaited return to South Africa when three International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments are played at Curro Hillcrest in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal in June and July 2024.

Curro Holdings, a leading independent education provider, has joined forces with Tennis South Africa (TSA) to host three combined men’s and women’s prize tournaments at Curro Hillcrest in Durban in June and July.

The tournaments will form part of the ITF World Tennis Tour, which serves as the global body’s pathway between the junior game and elite senior level. The series will provide an opportunity for rising local tennis stars to face off against international players.

South Africa last hosted professional international tournaments in 2021.

The events will attract a mix of the best South African juniors and local fledgling professionals, as well as international players from across Africa and abroad. Local professional players expected to compete include the country’s top women’s player, Isabella Kruger, and Davis Cup player Philip Henning.

“Generally, South African players have to travel to other countries to play in tournaments of this calibre because there are very few events of this nature hosted locally,” says Curro CEO, Cobus Loubser.

“Curro aims to inspire generations of South African champions by creating unparalleled opportunities and driving excellence in sports and that is why we have hosted ITF Junior Tournaments for top-ranking players from all over the world over the last few years.

“However, the Curro Centre Court Series expands our efforts, catering for professional players and offering significant prize purses. We are once again demonstrating our support for tennis in South Africa because we see ourselves as a driving force in the long-term growth of tennis in the country.”

The first event will be a combined men’s and women’s tournament from June 17-23, with $30 000 (R560 000) prize money on offer.

This will be followed by another combined competition from June 23-30, with $25 000 on the line for men and $15 000 for women.

The third tournament, also a combined event will be held from July 1-7, with a prize purse of $15 000 up for grabs for men and $25 000 for women.

Gavin Crookes, the president of TSA, is also responsible for the CEO’s duties and has welcomed the return of international tennis to the country.

“These tournaments are another big step forward for elite men’s and women’s tennis in the country, and we are looking forward to thrilling contests throughout the three weeks of competition,” said Crookes.

“We are delighted to have international men’s tennis events back in South Africa, as well as more quality women’s events, thus adding to the existing opportunities on offer for local players.

“Having combined events not only makes economic sense but is another step in the right direction, assisting all South African players with international ambitions with the opportunity to secure valuable ranking points and prize money on home soil.

“Our long-standing partnership with Curro is well-known within the South African tennis community. These events demonstrate the group’s continued intention to create further opportunities for South African players, something for which we at Tennis South Africa are truly grateful.”