TENNIS Zimbabwe (TZ) have secured sponsorship for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s Futures One tournament —the first in seven years — to be held at Harare Sports Club.
Report by Albert Marufu
The tournament, which runs from November 26 to December 2, will be sponsored to the tune of US$25 000 by an information and technology company that has chosen to remain anonymous.
TZ administrator Cliff Nhokwara said TZ was ready to host the tournament and were expecting more than 50 athletes.
“We have 11 tennis courts at Harare Sports Club and can ably host this tournament. Funds have been made available and we hope to host a very successful event that would attract more sponsorship,” he said.
Nhokwara added that he hoped the tournament would attract the best players.
“We expect a number of top players to grace this tournament. Hopefully our top players such as Takanyi Garanganga and Tendai Tapfuma will also be around,” he said.
Garanganga has been riding on the crest of a wave rising from position 612 to 460 after winning the Turkey F35 Futures and the Turkey F36 Futures tournaments recently.
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.
The second leg of the Futures One tournament will be hosted by South Africa and it starts on December 3.
Last year TZ lost in their bid to host a Futures tournament after failing to get a sponsor to run two tournaments, one after another.
Meanwhile, this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Open Tennis tournament hangs in the balance as the usual sponsors are still to commit themselves.
Nhokwara said TZ had been in talks with the telecommunication giant, but nothing had come up as yet.
“We are still negotiating with the sponsors and hopefully, something will come up soon,” he said.
NetOne sponsored the event last year. The company’s communications manager, Rutendo Chabururuka said he would only have the answers next week.