Tennis: Top players in high gear for Rwanda Open 2019

Olivier Havugimana reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Rwanda Open, and insists that his target this year is to win the title. Sam Ngendahimana.

Local tennis stars have intensified preparations ahead of the upcoming Rwanda Open 2019, which is due November 24 through December 1 at Amahoro Stadium.

Top-seed Olivier Havugimana, Yannick Muvunyi and David Uwimana are among those who are targeting top honours at the country’s biggest tennis tournament. 

Speaking to Times Sport on Tuesday, Havugimana said that he had been working hard in training over the last two months, and he looked forward to give it his best to win the competition.

“I reached the semi-finals at the last (2017) edition,” said Muvunyi. “I want to do better this year, and by better I mean to win the competition.”

At the 2017 edition, Havugimana put on a good fight from the first round up until the semi-finals as he was overpowered by Ugandan Duncan Mugabe 6-1 6-2, with the title going to Kenya’s Changawa Mzai, then aged 20, who edged Mugabe in the final.

“The tournament will be very competitive, it has always been because it brings the best players from the region. I am working hard in training and I look forward to giving it everything so I can reach the final - and lift the title.”

In a separate interview, Uwimana urged fans to come out in big numbers and rally behind Rwandan players in their quest to keep the titles at home.

“We need to battle hard in order to halt the dominance of foreign players in the tournament. To achieve, on top of good preparations we (players) have had, we need great support from fans.”

The tournament is organised by Rwanda Tennis Federation under the auspices of the International Tennis Federation.

Besides the men’s professional category, the competition also consists of the women’s category, veterans’ competition, juniors (boys and girls) section as well as a wheelchair tennis contest.

Rwanda Open 2017 attracted a total of 143 players from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Belgium, Italy, Tanzania, Sweden, Nepal, DR Congo and the hosts Rwanda.

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