Johannesburg – The Soweto Open tennis tournament has once again been derailed because of a lack of sponsorship, it emerged on Monday.
The department of sport and recreation, which sponsored the revived tournament at the Arthur Ashe Complex in Jabavu last year, will not bankroll the Soweto Open this year.
The news was revealed on Monday when the SA Tennis Association's media consultant Bruce Davidson announced that the Soweto Open, which was first staged in 2009, would not take place this year because of the absence of a sponsor.
“The department of sport have informed us that the hosting of the current Chan (African Nations Championship) tournament, in which Bafana Bafana were eliminated in the first round on Sunday, had drained their finances and they were unable to carry on sponsoring the Soweto Open,” Davidson said.
The event for men and women was considered pivotal in the development of tennis in South Africa and, according to Davidson, required an annual sponsorship in the region of R8 million to stage as an ATP Challenger and ITF women's tournament.
It was due to the lack of sponsorship that the Soweto Open was not held in 2012, with only a windfall from the government enabling it to be successfully revived last year.
“There is simply no sponsor to foot the bill, no matter how important it is to ensure the future of the sport in the country in a wider sense,” Davidson said. – Sapa