THIS year’s edition of the ITF Rwanda Men F1 Futures Men’s circuit which will be held at Laico Umubano Hotel from September 13-19 has attracted a record 52 elite foreign players.
According to the provisional entries released by Rwanda Tennis Federation Technical Director Thierry Ntwali, Netherlands’s Middelkoop Matwe is the highest ranked player at 283 on the ATP rankings and leads an 18-man list which is qualified into the main draw.
Other elite players who are qualified in the main draw include; India’s Roy Rupesh (446), Egypt’s Mohammed Safwat (587), Morocco’s Fattar Anas (725) and Uganda’s Duncan Mugabe who is placed on 731 among others.
Forty more players will be engaged in qualifying rounds to seek their automatic participation in the main draw.
The list includes elite players like Morocco’s Rachidi Younes and India’s Sharma Kaza who are all tied on 1240, Great Britain’s Barlow Philip (1245), Egypt’s Hedayet Omar (1272), Nigeria’s Clifford Enosoregbe, Edward Odocken (Uganda) and Kim Cheong (Korea) among others.
Ntwali confirmed that Rwanda will once again rely on Jean Claude Gasigwa, Dieudonne Habiyambere, Olivier Nkunda, Mathieu Uwizeyimana and Melee Bizimana to beat stiff challenge that has been exhibited by the foreigners in this competition.
Last year, Nkunda, Uwizeyimana, Bizimana and Habiyambere dropped out in the first round of the qualifying phase. Bizimana ran out of steam in the second and final round losing to Senegal’s Daouda Ndiaye 5-7, 3-6.
Uwizeyimana fell to India’s Mali Himananshi 2-6 3-6, Habiyambere lost out to Zimbabwe’s Tinotenda Chanakira 2-6 4-6.
The country’s top seed, Gasigwa succumbed to a premature exit in the main draw to bow out of the Rwf 5.65m Kigali leg after going down 6-3, 6-4 against Great Britain’s Philip Barlow.
The Czech player Adam Vejmelka won both the Bujumbura and Kigali legs respectively. With a hefty cash package of Rwf 5.65m, the winner will pocket a whooping Rwf 1.07m while the second and third runners up will bag Rwf 0.67m and Rwf 0.45m respectively.