• Short Summary

    History was made as the South African Open Tennis Championships got under way on Monday (27 March) in Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

  • Description

    History was made as the South African Open Tennis Championships got under way on Monday (27 March) in Johannesburg's Ellis Park.

    For the first time, South Africa's previously strict sports colour bar was lifted to allow non-white south Africans to compete in the championship Seven players - four men and three women -- were in the list of players.

    The four non-whites in the first round of the men's singles on Monday were all beaten -- leaving French Davis Cup star Waneo N'Godrella from New Caledonia to make his mark as the first non-white to win a match in the tournament.

    Nevertheless, their brief appearance was an important milestone whose possible effects on International Tennis should go far beyond defeat in the first round.

    South Africa's relaxation of the apartheid-in-sport rules come at a time when the question of South Africa remaining in the Davis Cup Federation is due to be discuss by Federation members next month, in Copenhagen.

    On Tuesday (28 March) Mr Alf Chalmers, President of the South African Lawn Tennis Union, said that he had apologised to Wanero N'Godrella "on behalf of South African Tennis" for an incident at Louis Botha Airport when the dark-skinned French player was asked to leave a whites-only restaurant.

    SYNOPSIS: Johannesburg's Ellis Park -- where on Monday the South African Open Tennis Championships began.

    South Africa's Brenda Kirk discusses the game with Miss Maroka, one of the seven non-white South Africans who made history by being allowed to compete for the first time in the championships.

    In the centre court, another non-white -- French Davis Cup star Wanero N' Godrella -- plays South Africa's Roban Summers from the Southern Transvaal. The score stands at thirty-fifteen and powerful serve from the Pacific Islander -- he comes from New Caledonia -- catches the South African off balance.

    Spectators as well as players mixed together -- another indication of the significant departure during these championships from the previously strict colour-bar in South African sport. Godrella continues to show fine form against Summers.

    The Popular Australian player of Aboriginal descent -- Yvonne Goolagong -- watches Godrella go on to win the third and last set, and thus make his mark as the only non-white victor in the men's singles.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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