‘Gratitude All Round’ as Montjane-Kamiji Lift Doubles Masters Title

A purple patch for the Kgothatso Montjane and Yui Kamiji partnership as they upset Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Jiske Griffioen 6-2 6-1 in the women’s final at the 2023 Doubles Masters, in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, 4 November. Photo: ITF

Even greater success meets the Kgothatso Montjane and Yui Kamiji partnership as they upset top-seeds Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Jiske Griffioen 6-2 6-1 in the women’s final at the 2023 Doubles Masters, in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, 4 November, 2023.

“It’s just gratitude all round for me,” said Montane after their victory on the penultimate day of seven in Barcelona brought the only title that was not for a top-seeded partnership.

“I’m always grateful for the opportunity to play this sport,” Montjane continued. “I started late and I grew to love wheelchair tennis, so I’m just grateful for the opportunity and grateful to everyone who has supported me, but also just grateful for the Tour itself, and to the ITF for giving us this opportunity to play this sport at the highest level.”

“It’s great that from the first time we played together (in May 2022), we won the first of many titles. It’s great to have made this combination work. It wasn’t easy for us to decide to do it, but we are producing the results that we always wished for. 

“We play better on clay because the surface is not so fast, but today we approached the match with the mentality we’d adopted going into the US Open final. We didn’t get the chance to play that final, but we brought that same attitude.”

Kgothatso Montjane has long since considered herself to be a product of the ITF and its wheelchair tennis development programme partner the Cruyff Foundation, having first picked up a racket at the age of 19 and then being offered the opportunity to participate in a Cruyff Foundation development camp in the Netherlands.

It was the start of a journey that led to being given a wild card for the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and some 15 years later she is now the first African woman to win a title at the year-end championships, the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters and ITF Wheelchair Doubles Masters.

For the record, Kamiji and Montjane’s second victory over De Groot and Griffioen since June this year earned them their ninth title together at the end of a season that they also end as Roland Garros and US Open champions.

Except it’s not the end of the season for Kamiji. She has one last match to play, when she faces De Groot in Sunday’s women’s singles final.

“Everything is special for me, to win the title and to enjoy every time I play with KG,” said Kamiji. “We have never won this title together, so I’m very happy. We’re very good on a clay court, especially, and both of us like to play on clay. We can use the full court and mix the type of balls we play.”

Ten years ago Kamiji became the first non-Dutch player to win the women’s title at the NEC Wheelchair Singles Masters. The same year she partnered another of her best friends, Jordanne Whiley, to win the first of two back-to-back women’s doubles titles. Can she repeat the dual success of 2023?

“Singles and doubles is obviously not the same and I can more enjoy to play doubles because I have a partner by my side and it’s one of my best friends, so it gives me courage,” said Kamiji, who attempts to end De Groot’s 126-match winning streak in Sunday’s women’s singles final.


Main Photo Caption: A purple patch for the Kgothatso Montjane and Yui Kamiji partnership as they upset Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Jiske Griffioen 6-2 6-1 in the women’s final at the 2023 Doubles Masters, in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, 4 November. Photo: ITF

Photo 2 Caption: The official champions’ photo call at the 2023 Doubles Masters, in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, 4 November. Photo: ITF

Original Copy: Marshall Thomas for the ITF

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