Rwanda Tennis Federation (RTF) president Theoneste Karenzi has tipped youngster Ernest Habiyambere to become an international player in the next “two to three” years.
Habiyambere, who is ranked third in the African junior category, recently won a two-year scholarship to train at the International Tennis Federation High Performance Training Centre in Morocco.
Speaking to Saturday Sports this week, Karenzi showered praise on the 18-year-old and tipped him to take the international stage by storm after his two-year stint in Morocco.
“Habiyambere is a disciplined, self-driven, motivated and determined player and I expect him to go places if he matures and continues to develop his game at this rate,” Karenzi said.
He added, “He exhibited his talent at an early age when he was still at the Burundi regional centre before he was picked to attend the African training centre.”
The official noted that they are convinced that the exposure Habiyambere will gain in North Africa as well as playing in different tournaments in European countries such as France, Spain and Italy will enable him to become a future champion.
“He will have a high level platform to play tennis at top level. I am seeing this young kid competing at the international level in the next two-three years,” added Karenzi.
Karenzi further noted that they are planning to send him to a higher training centre lile Barcelona after the completion of the two years at the Morocco training centre such that they can continue to elevate his playing level.
This year, the right-hander has participated in eight international tournaments, playing 13 matches winning five and losing eight.
The tournaments he played in include; Laperre Young Champions Cup (Hasselt, Belgium), Kreis Dueren Junior Tennis Cup (Cologne, Germany, Balle Mimosa Loire-Atlantique (Nantes, France), Windmill Cup (Velp, Holland).
Others were; Open des Jeunes Stade Francais - BNP Paribas Cup in Marnes la coquette (France), Kenya International Junior Championship in Nairobi, Nairobi International Junior Championships (Kenya) and ITF East African 18 and Under Junior Circuit (Nairobi, Kenya).
The teenager earned the scholarship after staging a good performance in January’s Africa Youth Championship in the 14&under category where he finished second.
Habiyambere moved up to third place in Africa according to the current rankings released by the Confederation of African Tennis [CAT] last month.
The rankings were based on the overall performances of African players, who featured in this year’s Africa Junior Championship held in February in Kenya.
Last year, he was ranked sixth after winning the first two legs of the ITF/CAT 14 and under junior circuit played in Burundi, before finishing third in the third leg held in Kigali.