TENNIS Zimbabwe (TZ) have set up committees to ensure the smooth running of the US$10 000 23rd Century Systems ITF Futures Tournament set for Harare Sports Club at the end of the month.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The Zimbabwe F1 Futures tournament, the first in the country since 2005, runs from November 26 to December 2.
TZ vice-president Regis Bhunu said the respective heads of the three committees — technical, functions and housekeeping — would be reporting to him.
“This is going to be a very big event in the country and we expect a big turn-out from players around the world.
“Richmore Murape will be in charge of the technical committee; Betty Tshatedi will head the functions committee while Martin Lorke heads the housekeeping committee,” Bhunu said.
Bhunu said they were expecting either 32 or 64 players and would only get to know about the correct number of entries once TZ received correspondence from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
“The deadline for players’ registration is November 15 [Thursday] and we will only know about the total number of entries the following day. We are expecting top players from around the world to be at Harare Sports Club,” he said.
“The tournament has US$10 000 total prize money, but most players would be coming for points. Most players prefer playing in countries that normally do not host Futures tournaments because they know their chances of earning points are high.”
Bhunu however, added that he was not yet sure of the availability of top Zimbabwe players: Takanyi Garanganga or Genius Chidzikwe.
“In these tournaments, players register personally. It is my wish though that we have our best players so that as the host, we win it,” he said.
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.
Last year Zimbabwe tried to host a futures tournament, but failed after failing to raise the required money.