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Ullyett Aims to Go Out 'On A High' At SA Tennis Open

Johannesburg, South Africa

Kevin Ullyett© Getty ImagesKevin Ullyett partnered Bruno Soares in 2009.

For Kevin Ullyett, playing at this year’s SA Tennis Open will be completing the circle for him. "I played my first ATP Tour event at the SA Open in 1992, I would like to end my career at the SA Open,’’ said Ullyett.

The SA Tennis Open begins on Monday at Montecasino in Johannesburg and runs through until Sunday, 7 February. Two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Ullyett will team up with Wesley Moodie at Montecasino and they will be the top seeds for the doubles event. 

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"Playing the SA Open was one of the highlights of the year. I heard such good reports about last year’s tournament that I was really keen to play.’’

Officially Ullyett retired at the end of last year but he aims to play not only in Johannesburg but may even have a go at Wimbledon later in the year. "That will depend on whether I can get a partner. I haven’t played with Wes before but if we hit it off, maybe we could team up again at Wimbledon. But that would depend on Wes.’’

Now 38 years old, Ullyett said he would probably have continued playing had it not been for the travelling. "I don’t have to travel to play in Johannesburg and I will be in London at the time of Wimbledon so I won’t have to travel there. I have my family and I want to settle down.’’

Ullyett and Zimbabwean Wayne Black teamed up to win the US Open doubles in 2001 and the pair repeated the feat at the 2005 Australian Open. In 2002 Ullyett also won the mixed doubles title in Melbourne with Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova.

"I was ready to stop four or five years ago. I always said that if I had a poor year, I would call it quits. In retrospect last year was not all that bad - we almost made the Masters - but we weren’t competing with the top guys so I just thought to leave it there.

"I also wanted to get to 500 wins. That wasn’t something I was looking for from the outset but it got to a stage where I was getting close. Only 30-odd guys have done it, and I finally got there in Stockholm.

"In my heart I wanted to be able to compete at the top level every time and that was no longer happening.’’

Nonetheless, Ullyett has high expectations in Johannesburg. "I’m looking to come up there and win it. It’s the perfect way to go out. I want to go out on a high."

Tickets are now available at all Computicket outlets nationwide and the Montecasino Box Office. Buy Tickets.


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© Reg Caldecott


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