FIVE countries have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming Rwanda Tennis Open, which is scheduled to start on October 27 and run through November 5 at Amahoro National Stadium tennis court.
The countries include Uganda, Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya and hosts Rwanda and over 160 players are expected to compete in the tournament.
Returning after sixteen years, this year’s tournament gets underway with the juniors and amateurs categories before the seniors (main) event that has attracted regional elite players.
The ten-day event comprises of three categories namely; juniors U-16, amateurs, wheelchair tennis and professionals or seniors.
According to the Rwanda Tennis Federation assistant technical director, Jean Pierre Nshimiyimana, the U-16 category comprises of 32 players (16 boys and 16 girls) while the amateurs category will attract a total of 48 players, all men.
The Men’s singles comprise 32 players while a total of 16 will compete in the doubles category.
However, in the professionals’ category, Rwanda will field a total of 32 players in the Men’s singles and 32 in Women’s singles while the doubles category will have 16 players for both men and women and Wheelchair Tennis will have about 8 players.
Rwandan players that are among the favourites to win this year’s Open include; the top three seeds Ernest Habiaymbere, Olivier Havugimana, and Dieudonne Habiyambere as well as Gisele Umumararungu and Meganne Ingabire, the number one seed in the women category.
The event, which is organised by the Rwanda Tennis Federation in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Bank of Kigali and Tigo, will see the winners take home US$1000 (men) and US$1000 (women) in prize money.