Wheelchair tennis star Montjane’s heart at pains due to lack of sponsorship

Tearful but determined to soldier on. Only African wheelchair tennis champ Khothatso Montjane (middle) and Ntambi Ravele -on her right- at the press brief at OR Tambo Int’l. Montjane did not travel with coach due to budget constraints.

The only African champ wheelchair tennis player poured her heart out that she struggled to source enough funds to take her and coach to the All England Club, were she eventually lost to top seed and defending champion Diede de Groot of the Netherlands.

Upon her to SA on Sunday Montjane who was well received at the airport told Metro FM that funding was a problem thus couldn’t take her coach along.

“It was a painful experience that I do not wish for anyone to go through. I mean I’m representing my country and this is what I get?” she asked with a thought provoking smile.

Asked if Tennis SA did provide some form of assistance and any sponsors were approached, the unimaginative Montjane said TSA did provide funds but that alone was not enough.

As for corporate partnership she said no, they did not come on board. “But that did not diminish my dream of playing in that historic court and do what I love, that’s all that matters,” she said tearfully.

“I’m an international tennis wheelchair player yet I have no sponsor for racquets or attire which are expensive,” decried Montjane, who shed a tear at the conference that was attended by her family.

The loot that I won at the Sports Awards went to my traveling, administrative and as a lady, one has to take care of herself, she said.

Ntambi Ravele- TSA board member representing tennis wheelchair, says unfortunately due to no budget they couldn’t help much with her trip logistics.

“We did pay for her trip but unfortunately, could not for coach. But we did have a chat with her upon her return and we’re discussing how best we could help her in the future along with other players’.

We’re in talks with National Lottery,” said Ravele.

Callers waged in and promised to raise funds and some said had she being a White player, it would have been a different scenario.

Montjane will spend the next few weeks back in the country to recuperate before the US Open in August. She has played three tournaments in Europe this month, including at Wimbledon.         

We hope by then funds issue would be the last thing in her mind.

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