TENNIS Zimbabwe (TZ) has set June as the month to host next year’s two postponed ITF Futures tournaments.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
The Futures tournaments were postponed to next year after ITF proposed that it be held in December, which TZ felt was too close to the holiday.
However, TZ president Regis Bhunu told Standardsport that June would be the ideal month to host the two tournaments that have an increased US$15 000 package each, instead of last year’s US$10 000, as it allows all local players to participate.
“I can confirm that NetOne has committed itself to sponsoring the second ITF Futures tournament, with the other one being sponsored by 23rd Century Systems. We will be notifying ITF on our decision to host the two tournaments in June. The first tournament will be called the 23rd Century Systems ITF Futures tournament, with the second one being called the NetOne ITF Futures tournament,” he said.
“We could have hosted the two tournaments in the first quarter of next year, but the Davis Cup competition is also played around the same time, so our top players might not be able to compete. These are two big tournaments and we hope to attract the best players,” he said.
Last year’s ITF Futures tournament sponsors, 23rd Century Systems have put in US$40 000 including advertising while NetOne has also come on board with a
US$35 000 without advertising for the running of the second ITF Futures tournament.
This year’s Futures tournament in Zimbabwe was going to be the second in seven years. Last year Zimbabwe co-hosted the event with South Africa with local boy Takanyi Garanganga winning the Futures 1 in Zimbabwe.
Bhunu also revealed that the Zim Open tournament would not be played this year, as the association is now preparing for the Futures tournaments which have ITF points that contribute to the players’ rankings.
“There won’t be any more tournaments this year and the NetOne Open will run like the Zimbabwe Tennis Open tournament,” he said.