Sport

Kevin Anderson to take on Lloyd Harris in Soweto next year

2019-11-16 14:36

Kevin Anderson is returning home for his first match in the country since winning the SA Open at Montecasino, Johannesburg, nine years ago.

Anderson will play an exhibition match at the final of the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis tournament at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto in February next year.

The announcement was made at a press event during the Rising Star Tennis wild card play-offs at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre on Friday. Special guest, Hollywood actor and activist Forest Whitaker, attended the press event alongside Sbusiso Leope, popularly known as DJ Sbu.

The Rising Star Tennis programme is an initiative aimed at increasing participation and passion for tennis among young South Africans. It is open to all primary schools nationwide.

I looked at the townships here in South Africa including, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Nyanga and I realised that one of the things that are needed is something to aspire to, something to believe in
Forest Whitaker

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee vice president, Barry Hendricks, said such initiatives can only be achieved through partnerships.

“Tennis can be used as a vehicle to change people’s lives. We can only do that through partnerships. We can only do that through business, through community engagement and government. It is only that way that we can develop successful and sustainable sport programmes,” Hendricks said.

Whitaker, who is a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) special envoy for peace and reconciliation, said that sport is a very powerful tool that can be used to change lives.

“I never played tennis but I saw Arthur Ashe. He gave me something to aspire to and believe in. He gave me an image that I could use in my life. I looked at the townships here in South Africa including, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Nyanga and I realised that one of the things that are needed is something to aspire to, something to believe in,” Whitaker said.

He added that one of the reasons he launched the youth development initiative earlier this week under the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative on the Cape Flats was because he saw that the youth in the area didn’t have anything to do.

Lloyd is part of an exciting new generation of players who are making a name for themselves on the ATP tour. For me there’s no better way to support a tennis revolution than with a South African sporting showdown
Kevin Anderson

“This is why I started to work on this sports programme. These programmes give the youth something to believe in, they give them a team, teach them about respect, being among different,” he said.

“Sports can offer not just something to aspire to but it can also teach all the different values that we need as human beings to live together in peace and have a decent life.”

DJ Sbu, who is a tennis fanatic, said that the sport helped make him what he is today.

“I was good at playing tennis. Through that I was able to travel to different parts of the country and the world. I was introduced to different things than those that were just in my community and that sparked something in me to say I want a better life,” he said.

Being part of such initiatives affords kids in townships the opportunity to learn different values, sportsmanship, teamwork and all these different things that you need to become a successful person one day
DJ Sbu

DJ Sbu said that initiatives such as the Rising Star Tennis Programme, are needed in townships.

“Being part of such initiatives affords kids in townships the opportunity to learn different values, sportsmanship, teamwork and all these different things that you need to become a successful person one day,” DJ Sbu said.

Anderson will play against rising South African tennis star Lloyd Harris. “Lloyd is part of an exciting new generation of players who are making a name for themselves on the ATP tour. For me there’s no better way to support a tennis revolution than with a South African sporting showdown,” Anderson said in a video message played at the event.

“I am very excited to play in South Africa in front of family, friends and fans and engaging with all the boys and girls that have advanced to the finals of the tournament,” Anderson said.


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December 15 2019