When they put their championships on the line in the SA National Squash Championship in Cape Town this week, Lizelle Muller and Dewald van Niekerk are aware that they will be in the sights of their competitors.
The greatest athletes in South Africa will compete for the title of SA champions on the all-glass court at the V&A Waterfront from Thursday through Sunday.
The defending champions, who won their first titles at the same venue a year ago, are ready to give it their all in their attempts to establish themselves as SA’s top players. It will be a high-octane squash tournament.
The 25-year-old Van Niekerk is dominating the SA squash scene and is playing the greatest squash of his career, but he is just focused on his first match.
Van Niekerk said, “I’m incredibly enthusiastic about this competition and I can’t wait to be back on the glass court in Cape Town.”
It’s fantastic to have a guy like Thoboki Mohohli back in the mix because there are some serious obstacles in the draw.
Few players get the chance to win the national championship twice in a row, so to win it again would be fantastic, so this is a wonderful opportunity to defend the crown.
But I am not planning too far ahead since it will simply make you feel stressed, so just concentrate on one match at a time.
Tristen Worth, the second seed and one of South Africa’s most promising young players, as well as JP Brits and Christo Potgieter, who have both been on the winner’s podium and are aware of what is required to win, will be among those vying for his crown.
In the women’s competition, Muller will have a significant battle from professional player Alex Fuller, who defeated her in the Pretoria final of 2020 but did not compete in 2017.
The player to beat at the Waterfront may very well be Fuller, who is currently ranked 31 in the world.
However, the 37-year-old Muller has a wealth of knowledge and is motivated to do well in Cape Town since, after years of failures, she won her first championship a year ago.
Muller remarked, “This will likely be my last Nationals, so it will be incredibly wonderful with plenty of obstacles.
I’ll go out there to enjoy myself, have some fun, and just take it game by game even though I know the competitors will be pushing hard for the championship.
Muller, who was a member of the South African team that was scheduled to go to Malaysia for the World Team Championships last year but the trip was cancelled, said she felt inspired to give it “one more shot.”
When I had a back injury this year, I was on the verge of giving up, but I chose to go on since I still had one objective left: the World Team Championships in Egypt in December.
Squash SA is thrilled to work with Southern Sun and the City of Cape Town as well as national sponsors Growthpoint to stage this prestigious domestic competition.
Southern Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock remarked, “We’re thrilled to continue our association with Squash SA and happy to provide our warmth and hospitality to the team, catering to their special sports and lodging needs.
We are excited to host the Squash SA team at their home away from home and continue to promote the game.
The City of Cape Town is excited to work with Squash SA for the Growthpoint SA Nationals, and JP Smith, a member of the mayor’s committee for safety and security, expressed similar excitement about serving as the event’s host for a second consecutive year.
“Following a successful event in 2021 held in accordance with the stringent Covid-19 requirements, we are eagerly anticipating a fully-fledged event that will highlight Cape Town as a top destination for events and tourists as well as the national squash tournament.
We can’t wait to have all the athletes, as well as their teams and fans, in the Mother City.
Thursday’s draw and timings are as follows:
Women’s matches: 11.40 a.m., 3-Alexa Pienaar (SACD) vs. 6-Shelomi Truter (SACD), 1 p.m. Siyoli Waters (WP) and Hayley Ward (EP), 2.20 p.m.: Lizelle Muller of the SACD will take against Helena Coetzee of the Northerns at 3:40 p.m. 1-Alex
Teagan Roux (#8) against. Fuller (WP) (Joburg Squash)
Men’s matches are as follows: 12.20pm: Christo Potgieter (3 Joburg Squash) vs. Rodney Durbach (6 WP), 1.40pm: JP Brits (4 SACD) vs. Ruan Olivier (5 Northerns), and 3.30pm: Two Tristen Worth (SACD) 1. Dewald van Niekerk (SACD) vs. 7. Thoboki Mohohli (Joburg Squash), 4.20 p.m.: Matthew Boote vs. 8. (KZN)