A few weeks ago, everybody thought that Jean Claude Gasigwa would be an automatic choice for Rwanda in this year’s Davis Cup; however, the truth is that the tennis ace did not make the team that flew out on Sunday.
The 26-year-old, who has by far been the most in-form tennis player, was left out of the four-man team on grounds of indiscipline.
With his recent scintillating form, questions were raised over Gasigwa’s omission but Thierry Ntwali, an official with the Rwanda Tennis Federation (RTF) has defended the coaches’ (Slyvain Rutikanga and Tony Majariwa) selection.
He said, “They have been with the players over the last two-weeks and no one can make a better judgment.”
“The coaches have been let down by his discipline throughout the two-weeks that the team has been preparing for the tournament.”
Effort to get a comment from Gasigwa proved futile as he had switched off his phone throughout the day. This is the first time that Gasigwa is going to miss a Davis Cup tournament since 2001 when he made his debut.
Without the top seed, the team therefore, includes Olivier Nkunda, Dieudonne Habiyambere, Mathew Uwizeyimana and the UK-based Ronald Mataba.
Mataba, who is expected to be one of the youngest players in Turkey, comes with great exposure under his belt after recently taking part in the Junior Orange Bowl tournament- the highest rated junior event in world tennis.
After his surprise call up to the team, Mataba, who qualifies to play for Rwanda through his Rwandan mother said, “To be called up, I’m just over the moon. I really wasn’t expecting it. I’m a little bit worried about everyone being a lot older than me but it’s still really exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”
This year, Rwanda is seeded in Group three (Euro-Africa) alongside Estonia, Greece, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Botswana and hosts Turkey.
The East Africans are chasing for their first ever promotion into Group two.
In 2007, Rwanda were relegated to Group 4 but battled their way back to Group 3 last year after finishing 4th in Armenia.