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South African Inspires Tennis World from a Wheelchair

  • Sonny Young

Lucas Sithole won the wheelchair quad singles final in September at the U.S.Open and hopes to play in the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil. (Courtesy U.S. Tennis Association)

Fifth in a series on Africa's Rising Stars

Lucas Sithole lost both legs and half of his right arm in a train accident when he was 11 years old. But ever since the accident Sithole has been pushing to achieve and he credits his family with their constant support.

People have been inspired by Sithole since he turned professional almost three years ago. Today, the 27-year-old South African is a professional tennis player and a rising African star.

He says when he was in high school, he was introduced to basketball, rugby and tennis but he decided to focus on tennis to raise the profile of the sport in South Africa.

His coach, Holger Losch, says, “I’m sure a lot of tennis players would love to swing the racket at the U.S. Open in New York, the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam tournament."

Sithole says he’s hoping his September victory – and others to come – will bring more recognition to wheelchair tennis.

Sithole’s skills in wheelchair tennis have allowed him to travel all over the world. During his brief career, he’s already been to tournaments in Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and Britain, as well as his home country of South Africa. The young tennis star says he hopes to make one of his biggest trips to Brazil in 2016 for the Paralympics.