Aug. 2, 2001
ATLANTA – Mariaan de Swardt, a two-time Grand Slam tournament champion, was named assistant women’s tennis coach at Georgia Tech, Yellow Jacket head coach Bryan Shelton announced on Thursday.
De Swardt, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, brings a wealth of professional playing experience with her to Tech. Since 1988, she has won two Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles competition, including the 1999 Australian Open and the 2000 French Open with partner David Adams. She is currently working with a junior tennis program in Hilton Head, S.C., and playing team tennis before beginning her duties with the Yellow Jackets on August 15.
“I think that with the addition of Mariaan to our coaching staff, we have a great combination of two coaches who both have professional playing background,” said Shelton. “That gives us a unique perspective to help the girls get where they want to go. I think that we can offer kids something no one else in the country has.”
Along with the two Grand Slam wins, de Swardt also holds four career doubles titles and a Sanex WTA Tour singles title in 1998. She was named the 2000 Female Most Valuable Player in World Team Tennis and finished the 1995 season ranked No. 1 in women’s doubles with Martina Navratilova, helping lead the New Jersey Stars to the league championship. Perhaps the best singles win of her career also came in 1995 as she defeated then top-ranked Steffi Graf at a tournament in Brighton, dealing Graf only her second loss of the year to that point. A member of the South African Fed Cup Team in 1992 and 1994-97, de Swardt was also a member of the South African Olympic Team in 1992, ’96 and 2000.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to coach at Georgia Tech,” said de Swardt. “I have a great deal of respect for Bryan (Shelton) and I feel very lucky and privileged to work with him as a coach. We played together in the World Team Tennis circuit and on tour, and he is a great player and a great coach. I know that Georgia Tech is a great school and has a good program. I’m looking forward to getting to know the team and start working with them when I arrive in Atlanta.”
Aside from her professional tennis career, de Swardt has been involved with the Girls and Boys Club of Hilton Head, S.C., visiting with children when in town and corresponding via e-mail on the road. She has also been a commentator for Eurosport and South African television in her career.
“Someone of Mariaan’s stature could do a great job as a head coach anywhere in the country,” said Shelton. “Because of that, I feel very fortunate to get her as an assistant coach.”