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Words: Bianca Morkel, Wheelchair Tennis South Africa | Photos: Various

Williams Sisters to Visit South Africa International tennis stars, Venus and Serena Williams, are visiting South Africa in early November 2012 to launch the 'Breaking the Mould' (BTM) campaign. In addition to lending their support to this important initiative, the sisters will attend a gala dinner at Montecasino, Gauteng, and play an exciting exhibition tennis match at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park arena for fans of all ages.

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The Williams sisters have signed on to champion ‘Breaking the Mould’ because they exemplify how determination, passion, hard work, and self-belief can turn dreams into reality, despite obstacles that one may face. “We’re extremely excited to be coming to South Africa,” says Venus Williams. “After Serena’s Gold Medal at the Olympics, her win at Wimbledon and now the US Open too, I look forward to taking my younger sister on in this exhibition tennis match in South Africa!” Serena adds, “We’re proud and humbled to have been chosen for the inauguration of this women’s empowerment platform and we hope we can help inspire South Africa’s young women to break the mould too.” It is against this background that Wheelchair Tennis was invited to be involved with the 2012 'Breaking the Mould' campaign in South Africa. The concept of wheelchair tennis challenges the norms for sport as it is not only remarkable to watch the agility and skill with which the players move the chair, but inspirational to see how they can then add the next dimension of hitting, placing, and retrieving a moving ball. Wheelchair tennis is also one of the few disabled sports where a person playing in a chair can play with or against someone in a chair, or with able-bodied players in leagues, events, and practices. SA’s top women's player, Kgothatso Montjane, ranked No. 10 in the world, will be taking to the court with SA’s No. 1 men's player, Evans Maripa, ranked No. 31 in the world, and two top junior able-bodied players, to play a curtain raiser to the exciting Williams sisters’ exhibition match.

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Evans Maripa

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Kgothatso Montjane, Lucas Sithole and Evans Maripa

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Kgothatso Montjane SA's no.1 world No.10 in Wheelchair Tennis Women’s division at the London 2012 Paralympics - Photo SASCOC

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Catch the match The BTM exhibition match will take place at Ellis Park Arena on Sunday, 4 November 2012 at 14h00. Cost of tickets: • R750 per person, Courtside • R450 per person, First tier • R350 per person, Second tier • R350 per disabled person - limited seats available Tickets are available at www.computicket.co.za. Book now to avoid disappointment. Each option can be coupled with parking in the Coca Cola Park Parkade at R50 per car (on the Computicket website).

Show your support If you would like to attend the gala dinner and support the 'Breaking the Mould' (BTM) campaign - and see the legendary Williams sisters in person - the details are as follows: • Gala dinner tickets: R3 800 per person - seated per table of 12 / R45 600 per table of 12 • Dress code: Black tie - strictly no denims or sneakers • Time: 18h30 for 19h00 Registration and Pre dinner drinks  19h00 - 22h00 Breaking the Mould Gala Dinner and Auction • Price includes: Parking tickets - one per couple; a threecourse set menu with full local bar; and each guest will receive a goody bag with a specially designed ‘Breaking the Mould’ gift by Jenna Clifford, one of BTM’s South African Mould Breakers. • Not to be missed: An auction of signed personal memorabilia from the tennis world's leading lights - Venus and Serena Williams. • Tickets available at: www.africabtm.com from 21 September 2012. All monies raised from the gala dinner, including the memorabilia that will be auctioned on the evening, will be given to Wheelchair Tennis SA through the SA Sports Trust, BTM’s chosen beneficiary for 2012. Wheelchair Tennis SA's Manager, Karen Losch, said, “We are thrilled to be part of this wonderful and creative initiative by BTM as the SA Sports Trusts beneficiary for 2012. Wheelchair Tennis SA shares the initiatives of the BTM campaign believing that through 'Caring, Empowerment, Diversity, Service, and Fun' we can turn our dreams into reality, despite the obstacles or disabilities we face.” •

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Related article: • London Calls Wheeling Tennis Stars (Digital article, September '12)

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#3 SERENA WILLIAMS (USA) Birthdate

September 26, 1981 (31 years old)

Birthplace

Saginaw, Michigan

Residence

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Height

5'9'' (175 cm)

Weight

150 lbs (68 kg)

Plays

Right-handed

Turned Pro

1995 (18 years on tour)

Official Site

www.serenawilliams.com

Singles Ranking

Currently #3

Nationality

USA

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#24 VENUS WILLIAMS (USA Birthdate

June 17, 1980 (32 years old)

Birthplace

Lynwood, California

Residence

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Height

6'1'' (185 cm)

Weight

160 lbs (72 kg)

Plays

Right-handed

Turned Pro

1994 (19 years on tour)

Official Site

www.venuswilliams.com

Singles Ranking

Currently #24

Nationality

USA

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Wheelchair Tennis SA players Photo by Reg Caldecott

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