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16 countries meet at Bulawayo tennis event

BULAWAYO-AN International Tennis Federation (ITF) Under-18 tournament kicked off at Bulawayo Country Club yesterday where players from 16 countries are participating.

It’s the third consecutive year that Zimbabwe is hosting the games and Tennis Zimbabwe manager Cliff Nhokwara said the event gives young players the opportunity to improve on their world rankings.

Local players and those from Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia, United States of America, Egypt, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, among others, will be rubbing shoulders until Saturday in a bid to earn world ranking points.

“These tournaments are a platform to get entry points for the world ranking. Hopefully, there will be a Zimbabwean in the final as it will be a positive result for the efforts made by Tennis Zimbabwe in our quest to make the country a force to be reckoned with in tennis,” said Nhokwara. 

“It’s been good that we’ve had a number of Zimbabwean players winning before, but the important thing is to ensure that they earn as many points as they can for them to get recognition. Our ultimate goal is to have a lot of players getting recognition for them to pursue tennis professionally or use it as a platform to get scholarships.”

He said participating in ITF games is important for young players, as the database is available to anyone in the world.

“College coaches from overseas use the same database to look for players and for that reason, the tournament is the best opportunity for the youngsters to grab with both hands and run away with it. 

“The fact that players from as far as Europe come for this event shows its importance, so we have to motivate aspiring tennis players to participate, watch and learn what other countries do. 

“It will help us see where we’re lacking, compare and upgrade what is done here and what we usually do, for instance at Emakhandeni (Sports Club),” he said.

Nhokwara said the tournament is part of development where they encourage all aspiring tennis players to register to be able to participate in events like the ITF games.

Emakhandeni Tennis Club’s 15-year-old wonder kid Zamani Moyo is among the players at the tournament. Chronicle

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