TENNIS players and fans are guaranteed a dosage of the international game when the country hosts three International Tennis Federation Futures tournaments at Harare Sports Club between June and July. By Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter – Herald
Tennis Zimbabwe president Regis Bhunu yesterday said they had secured sponsorship to host three $10 000 futures events from June 20 to July 9.
The first tournament is set to run from June 20 to 26.
The second event starts on June 27 to July 3 and the last one is slated for July 4 to 10 at Harare Sports Club.
Bhunu said they were grateful to their traditional sponsors, Old Mutual, who have once again come on board to support this year’s events.
“We are getting full sponsorship from Old Mutual. It’s actually great because getting such a level of sponsorship under these circumstances, it’s something you would not expect. We feel honoured, I think that’s what will make tennis go forward.
“We want to have these futures because it boost the interest for tennis. We are quite excited this thing is happening,” said Bhunu.
Bhunu said they are hoping for an improved participation from Zimbabwean players this year.
TZ administrator, Cliff Nhokwara, said they were expecting a number of upcoming juniors to take part as it will expose them to international competition.
“We are obviously expecting top level of tennis. Our Davis Cup team members will be participating and upcoming junior players, the Under-16s and Under-18s. I am hoping we should have about 10 Zimbabwean players for the tournament.
“Certainly there is a lot of interest from the players who are already on the pro circuit.
“But those locally based especially the youngsters, it’s something they were scared of because of the level of play but a few started coming in and more are coming in.
“So that should be a plus for our juniors. Hopefully we will have a few surprises from our juniors,” said Nhokwara.
Nhokwara said the futures events will be a good warm-up for the Davis Cup team which is set to take on Georgia soon after the tournaments, on the weekend of July 15 to 17 in Georgia.
Zimbabwe will be fighting to remain in the Europe/Africa Group II after losing the first tie to Finland in March.