Europe/Africa Zone Group III (A) (April 28-3 May)
Venue: Istanbul, Turkey
Surface: Hard - outdoors
Nations: Estonia, Greece, Botswana, Iceland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Rwanda, Turkey.
Unfamiliar hard court surfaces could be one of Rwanda’s weak points at this year’s Davis Cup tournament in Turkey’s capital, Istanbul.
Apart from Ronald Mataba who is fairly well-versed with the surface after playing plenty of tennis in England; the three home-grown players-Olivier Nkunda, Dieudonne Habiyambere and Mathew Uwizeyimana are all strangers to this kind of surface since Rwanda boosts of only clay surfaces.
In the run up to the tournament, the team practiced on clay surfaces so Rwanda’s tennis ace Jean Claude Gasigwa who was allegedly left out of the team on grounds of indiscipline is worried that the players will find it difficult to cope with the hard court surface.
“The surfaces play differently so our players could find it a little difficult because they are not used to it,” he said.
This year, Rwanda is drawn in the Euro/Africa Zone of Group 3 alongside hosts Turkey, Estonia, Greece, Botswana, Iceland, Luxembourg and Madagascar.
Since the country’s debut in 2001, Rwanda is yet to progress into Group 2 and is at pains to break this jinx.
Last year, Rwanda battled their way back to Group 3 after a fourth spot finish in Armenia. The East Africans had been relegated to Group 4 in 2007.
Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is contested between teams of players from competing countries in a knock-out format.
The world’s best 16 national teams are assigned to the world group while nations outside the world group (like Rwanda) compete in one of three regional zones (Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa).
ALL TIME RECORD (RWANDA)
First Year Played 2001
Years Played 8
Ties Played Win-Loss 36 (11 - 25)
Years in WG 0 (0 - 0)
Most Total Wins Eric HAGENIMANA (19 - 26)
Most Singles Wins Eric HAGENIMANA (14 - 13)
Most Doubles Wins Alain HAKIZIMANA (5 -15)Eric HAGENIMANA(5-13)
Best Doubles Team Eric HAGENIMANA & Alain HAKIZIMANA (3-5)
Most Ties Played Eric HAGENIMANA (29)Jean-Claude GASIGWA (29)
Most Years Played Eric HAGENIMANA (7)Jean-Claude GASIGWA (7)