Tennis: Umumararungu calls for more local competitions

Rwanda’s women number four Gisele Umumararungu has attributed failure by the home players to reach the final of this year’s Rwanda Tennis Open, to a lack of enough competitions, which she says would help them to raise their form.
Umumararungu lost in the semifinals to Burundian Aisha Niyonkuru in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 on Friday. / Sam Ngendahimana
Umumararungu lost in the semifinals to Burundian Aisha Niyonkuru in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 on Friday. / Sam Ngendahimana

Rwanda’s women number four Gisele Umumararungu has attributed failure by the home players to reach the final of this year’s Rwanda Tennis Open, to a lack of enough competitions, which she says would help them to raise their form.

Umumararungu lost in the semifinals to Burundian Aisha Niyonkuru in straight sets 6-26-2 on Friday and afterwards admitted that the local tennis federation and other partners need to think hard about how to increase the number tournaments on the national calendar.

“We are not as bad as some people think we have quality players who can compete at the highest level but the problem is that we compete with others who have been in many competitions. We also need to play more competitions,” Umumararungu said.

No Rwandan player was able to reach the final of the men and women’s singles.

Olivier Havugimana and Umumararungu lost their semifinals to Ugandan Duncan Mugabe and Niyonkuru respectively. Havugimana lost in straight sets against Uganda’s top seed Mugabe 6-1, 6-2.

She noted, “If you look at the way we are playing it is not bad but we lack enough local competitions. The more you play on a higher level the more you become a better player.”

The 2017 Rwanda Open attracted 143 Tennis players from host Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Belgium, Italy, Tanzania, Sweden, Nepal and DR Congo.

Havugimana’s conqueror Mugabe will face Kenyan Changawa Mzai in the men’s singles final today, while Niyonkuru, who ended Umumararungu’s hopes, is set to take on Shufaa Changawa from Kenya for the women’s title.

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