The International Tennis Federation had acceded to TZ’s request to have the tournament be accorded Futures status, but on condition that they run two tournaments one after another.
The ITF Futures circuit is the lowest rung of professional tennis below the Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challengers Tour, the ATP Tour and the pinnacle of professional tennis, the Grand Slam.
TZ administrator Cliff Nhokwara said they had hoped to get another sponsor who would sponsor the second tournament as was the requirement from ITF.
“The NetOne Zimbabwe Open will go ahead as planned later this year, but it will not have a Futures status. ITF had asked us to run to tournament that will be played one after the other, but we failed to get a sponsor for the second tournament,” he said.
Nhokwara added that the association still hoped to host an ITF Futures tournament next year as that would be beneficial to local players.
“Hosting a Futures tournament has a number of advantages to our young players. If you play in Futures tournaments you earn points, which will ensure that you do not take part in the qualifying rounds of a tournament.
“If you host a tournament, you get four places of players who do not play in the qualifiers. Right now most of our players are playing in the qualifying rounds and by the time the first round properly starts, they will be tired. That explains why they loses. We hope to host a Futures tournament in the first quarter of next year as we are negotiating with a sponsor,” he said.
Communications giant NetOne have revealed that this year’s edition of the NetOne Zimbabwe Open Tennis Tournament will be sponsored to the tune of US$20 000 and will be held from December 5-9.