SA tennis star Donald Ramphadi opens up about becoming a French Open champion
The quad player became the first South African in both able-bodied and wheelchair category to win at Roland Garros since David Adams in 2000.
World number four and Roland Garros champion, Donald Ramphadi says it has been a tough journey for him to get to where he is now.
The quad player became the first South African in both able-bodied and wheelchair category to win Roland Garros title since David Adams in 2000 after he and doubles partner Andy Lapthorne won the men’s doubles title.
Speaking to broadcaster Robert Marawa, Ramphadi says his achievement is only just sinking in.
Everything that just happened, is only sinking now. They way I was received when I landed and all the interviews have been a good experience. I have been playing well but its obviously different after you have won a Grand Slam.Donald Ramphadi, Roland Garros Winner
It was a tough one, but knowing what I wanted to do and where I wanted to get to, is what has driven me to this point.Donald Ramphadi, Roland Garros Winner
There were many times when I thought about giving up and it’s been very emotional along with my coaches. To be honest when I started in the quad division, I knew I had the capabilities to be where I am.Donald Ramphadi, Roland Garros Winner
The 30-year-old also bemoaned the lack of funding he and the sport receives.
The only sponsor I have right now is Wilson, who sponsor with me racquets but I use my own money to travel. TSA (Tennis South Africa) does try but they are also struggling with sponsors. The minister congratulated me but didn’t make any promises about anything.Donald Ramphadi, Roland Garros Winner
It’s been tough and it makes me emotional to think about these things. Last year I spent around R700 000, including for a new wheelchair. Even if I can get a sponsor to help me travel because I am tired of thinking of how to get to these places so that I can focus on playing tennis. If I can get that and help with a wheelchair then I can be the world number 1.Donald Ramphadi, Roland Garros Winner
Watch below for the full interview with Donald Ramphadi: