Rwanda is set to become the second African country – after Tunisia – to host renowned tennis legends for the 2019 International Tennis Show come September.
The week-long activities, to promote the sport, will be held at Nyarutarama Tennis Club, Amahoro Stadium and Cercle Sportif de Kigali tennis courts.
According to former world number 1 Ilie Nãstase who was in Kigali earlier this week, the programme is aimed at instilling passion and love for tennis in young talents.
The first two (2017 & 2018) editions of the annual International Tennis Show were held in Tunis, Tunisia.
“We are organizing the tennis show in Kigali to give a push to the development of tennis in Rwanda, and get kids to love the sport from a young age, while possibilities – to what they can become – are still limitless,” said Nãstase.
Rwanda Tennis Federation president, Kassim Ntageruka, welcomed the event in the country and described it as a ‘huge boost’ to local players and the tennis body.
The event revolves around exhibition matches between the world’s tennis legends and training sessions for young talents for one week.
Other legends expected in Kigali include; Yannick Noah, Mansour Bahrami, Fabrice Santoro, Younes Al Aynaoui and among others.
Nãstase is one of the ten players in history who have won more than 100 ATP professional titles (58 singles and 45 in doubles). He has won 6 titles at Rolland Garros, US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Mansour Bahrami: Also nicknamed as the king of tennis-entertainment, is an Iranian retired tennis player. Despite his moderately successful career on the main ATP tour, his showmanship made him a long-standing and popular figure in invitational tournaments.
Fabrice Santoro: The Tahiti retired tennis player holds the second-most appearances in singles competition at Grand Slam events behind Swiss great Roger Federer (70). During his professional that spanned for over twenty years, Santoro won 6 titles in singles and 24 doubles, including 2 times at the Australian Open. His best ranking was 17th in the world in 2001.
Younes Al Aynaoui: The best ranking of the French-Moroccan was 14th world in 2003. He won several tournaments and was decorated by the king of Morocco.
Yannick Noah: During his career, which spanned almost two decades, Noah captured a total of 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles, reaching a career-high singles ranking of World No. 3 and became France’s most prominent tennis hero in 1983.
He was the first Frenchman in 37 years to win the French Open.
These legends will play exhibition matches where the quality of the exchanges will be the same level as the laughter of the spectators.