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The Soweto Open will take place from 11 April at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre, featuring international and local professional tennis players.
THE Soweto Open tennis tournament is heading back to the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Jabavu, in Soweto, and this year there is R700 000 in the winners’ purse.

Lats year's Soweto Open winnersLats year's Soweto Open winners, Nina Bratchikova and Dustin BrownIt will run from 11 to 16 April. The Soweto Open is an Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament. It has been hosted in Soweto since 2009; the City of Johannesburg set aside R16-million to secure the right to stage the tournament for three years.
Organised by the City, it is becoming one of the more established tournaments, attracting both local and international professional tennis players.

“We are committed to the growth of sport in general and tennis in particular,” says Executive Mayor Amos Masondo.

“We are striving to make tennis a mainstream sport in Soweto and other previously disadvantaged areas. We salute all efforts by the South African Tennis Association as well as the players, supporters and sponsors to make this dream a reality.”

This tournament is for men and women; the men’s event forms part of an international ATP challenger series, while the women’s event is part of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Pro Circuit.

Jamaica’s Dustin Brown won the men’s tournament in 2010, taking home R105 000. He beat local player, Izak van der Merwe, in the final. The two met again at this year’s SA Open at Montecasino in the second round but that time Van der Merwe was the victor.

Top stars grace the Soweto OpenTop stars grace the Soweto OpenIn the women’s 2010 event, Russia’s Nina Bratchikova took the title and R107 000, beating former world number 19 Tamarin Tanasugarn of Thailand.
The winners of the men’s doubles were Nicholas Mahut from France and Lovro Zovko from Croatia, and the women’s were Vitalia Diatchenko from Russia and Eirini Georgatou from Greece.

Entrance to the Soweto Open is free. “We are looking forward to a spectacular tennis tournament this year that is well supported,” says Masondo.
Laura Vercueil, the public relations and communications manager of the Johannesburg Tourism Company, says the tournament will open an opportunity for Johannesburg tourists to view world-class international tennis in Soweto.

Singles draws for the men’s and women’s categories will consist of 32 players with 24 direct entries, four qualifying spots and four wild cards. The qualifying tournaments will be on 9 and 10 April.

The doubles draws will consist of 16 teams each and the finals for both men and women will be on 15 April and for the singles on 16 April.

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