AFTER a huge entry of world class players, Rwanda Tennis Federation’s Thierry Ntwali expects top quality tennis in this year’s ITF Men’s Futures which throw off this Saturday at Laico Umubano Kigali.
Big players like last year’s semi-finalist Leonte Bogdan (Romania), Adam Vejmelka (Czech), Gard Catalin (Romania), Vasiliev Mikhail (Russia) and Vanni Luca (Italy) have all lined up for the one-week event.
Others include Volante Matteo (Italy), Dienno Damiano (Italy), Fattar Anas (Morocco), Roy Rupesh (India), Viola Marco (Italy), Feaver James (Great Britain), Dierckx Marco (Belgium), Filenkov Alexei (Russia), Brassington Kyle (Great Britain), Abou Motaz (Egypt), Bella Marco (Italy) and Safwat Mohammed (Egypt).
While Rwanda’s quartet of Dieudonne Habiyambere, Mele Bizimana, Cekina Niyonshuti and Mathieu Uwizeyimana will have to qualify the hard way (qualification phase), top seeds Jean Claude Gasigwa and Olivier Nkunda are wildcard entries.
Of the 32 players expected to make the main draw, 20 have automatic qualification owing to their ATP ranking, eight have to qualify through a two-day qualification tournament while four have ITF wild cards.
The two-day qualification phase will attract players from Nigeria, France, Israel, South Africa, Italy, Belgium, India, Malta, Tunisia, Great Britain, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania among others.
Heineken is the lead sponsor after injecting Rwf3m in the week-long event which will be staged at Laico Umubano Kigali.
The Rwandan Futures is a continuation of the first leg which wraps up tomorrow in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura.
After the Kigali leg, players will head to Kampala, Nairobi before winding up their circuit in Khartoum, Sudan.
With a lucrative package of $10,000, there is everything to play for. The winner will pocket a whooping $1,900 while the second and third runners up with bag $1,200 and $800 respectively.
Last year, the Rwandan leg was won by Germany’s Andre Begemann.