The 2013 ITF Men’s Futures tournament will be graced by several international players who are in Kigali for the week-long, second leg which starts this weekend at Umubano hotel courts.
This year’s tournament has attracted 50 international players vying for ATP points and a share of the $10,000 prize money.
Favourites include Australia’s Melzer Gerard, ranked 211th by ATP – the highest ranked player in the competition –, India’s Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (323) and Belgian Yannick Mertens (345).
Burundian Hassan Ndayishimiye (886) is the only player from East and Central Africa ranked within the top 1000 players.
Rwanda’s leading players Jean Claude Gasigwa, Dieudonne Habiyambere, Mathieu Uwizeyimana, Mubarak Harelimana, Olivier Nkunda, Hamisi Gatete and Anatole Bizimana will all begin their quest via the qualifying rounds, starting on Saturday as they seek to earn spots in the main draw set for Monday.
Rwandan players have always struggled in the competition and it remains to be seen if any of them will finally break the jinx this time round and advance into the later stages.
Eric Hagenimana, now based in the US, remains the only Rwandan to have reached the quarter-finals of the tournament - in 2003.
Last year, Nkunda and Habiyambere both failed to go past first round, while Gasigwa, winner of this year’s ITF Men’s Prize Money tournament, reached the second round before losing to Italian Picco Francesco 6-1, 6-2.