Durban – South Africa’s US Open wheelchair quad tennis champion, Lucas Sithole, does 100 push-ups every day.
As soon as he gets out of bed in the morning, he does 50 and then another 50 before he gets into bed at night. He is unstoppable in his determination to succeed.
So focused is Sithole that when he is not playing tennis, he is in the studio working on his forthcoming maskandi album.
The man who beat world number one David Wagner on Sunday at the US Open quad tournament in New York has partnered his younger brother in the hopes of stealing another kind of spotlight.
Having named themselves “Amathalente Amahle”, meaning beautiful talents, the maskandi duo hope to hook South African fans with their traditional sounds.
“We are releasing our first album late in November,” said Sithole. “We go to the studio on weekends so it doesn’t interfere with my tennis.”
Even though they’ve been making music for two years they have yet to perform on stage, but Sithole said that they were waiting for their debut album to be completed first. “We’re hoping the audience likes it.”
The 26-year-old tennis player lost both legs and an arm when he fell beneath a train in Dannhauser, KwaZulu-Natal, when he was 12, but that didn’t slow him down. Sithole played wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby before he settled on tennis when he was 20 years old.
“Tennis is not only fun, it’s also a one-man-show and I like the spotlight,” he laughed.
Sithole’s win at the US Open came just two months after he won the same accolade at the British Open.
He said he was surprised by the enormous expression of support from South Africans.
“I thought it would be a small thing, nothing so major.”
“The gold medal at the Rio Olympics is what I’m aiming for next,” he added.
In the meantime, Sithole will stick to his daily regime of two practice sessions and an apple a day.