TENNIS Zimbabwe (TZ) wants to elevate the Zimbabwe Open so that it becomes an International Tennis Federation Circuit tournament after this year’s match that begins next
The ITF circuits enable players to earn points for world rankings from where they then qualify to play in Grand Slam qualifying events. Zimbabwe used to host ITF satellite tournaments where top international players, including the country’s Davis Cup stars, Byron and Wayne Black, came through the ranks. The dearth of these events is blamed on mismanagement and alleged fraud blamed on the previous administration.
An ITF-sanctioned tournament requires a sponsorship of at least US$10 000 before it can be registered.
“We are planning with the sponsor, Dairibord, that players earn points on the Zimbabwe Open and become a stepping stone to turn professional,” said TZ administrator, Cliff Nhakwara.
A tournament on the ITF African region tour will be played in Bulawayo in September.
Meanwhile, United States-based Pfungwa Mahefu had by this week not yet confirmed his availability to defend his Zimbabwe Open’s men title, to be played at Old Hararians next week. The Davis Cup trio of Genius Chidzikwe, Gwinyai Tongoona and Caltex Open champion, Nigel Badza, are taking part, alongside the Zimbabwe Open’s women champion, Vimbai Mawisire.