Bhunu, together with Thabile Tshatedi and South Africa-based Vimbai Patience Ugaro, will represent Zimbabwe at the tournament that is expected to run from January 30 to February 4.
The 16-year-old said the tournament provides her with an opportunity to improve on her ITF ranking as she recently dropped to position 290 because of lack of playing time.
“I have been working with coach Martin Dzuwa on the aspects of the game which he said I should improve on, and I think I will come right,” she told Standardsport during her training session at Harare Sports club on Friday.
Her sentiments were echoed by coach Dzuwa, who said they are working on improving her mental aspect of the game.
“She has to be positive in her game because the mental aspect makes a difference. We are working on spinning the ball because she will be playing on clay in Kenya. She is a good player but should have variation of the game which we are currently working on,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s other participant at the tournament, Tshatedi, is still battling with a thumb injury sustained late last year at a tournament in Rwanda, but her coach Prince Madema reckons that she will have fully recovered by the time the tournament starts.
“She is nursing a thumb injury at the moment, but I think she will be fit before the tournament starts. We initially thought it was a minor injury but X-rays showed otherwise. However, she is improving and on Wednesday had the plaster removed,” he said of the 16-yerar-old star.
Madema added that Tshatedi only experiences pain on the thumb when using the back hand, but she can still use other aspects of the game which she has an advantage over others.
“She has some powerful shots which she should take advantage of besides the use of back hand. She can slice the ball and get away with it. She should take the tournament seriously as we are aiming for her to finish in the top 500 this year. She is currently ranked on position 995 and I think by reaching second round, she can garner a number of points,” he said.
Madema has the experience of the surface in Kenya having resided in that country as the regional development officer for East Africa.
“An athlete has to adapt to any playing surface. The courts in Kenya are not that good as the bounce is not even. Their clay courts are supposed to be slow but they are very fast,” he said.
Local tennis players have of late been crying over lack of tournaments so the ITF East Africa Circuit will come as a relief to them.