“Come enjoy free world-class tennis at Women’s World Tour,” Kenyans urged ahead of festive season

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 5 – Tennis Kenya president James Kenani believes the upcoming International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s World Tour W25 event is the perfect way for enthusiasts to spend their festive season.

Kenani said the event, to be held at Karen Country Club on December 9-16 and Nairobi Club from December 16-23, promises to provide spectators with world class tennis as 64 players from 34 countries battle for glory.

“It is a festive season now and people are no longer working in their offices as much as they used to in the course of the year. They just want to take a break and one of the ways to take a break is to just come and enjoy free tennis…world class tennis,” Kenani said.

The president pointed out that – in light of the long holidays – the two-week tournament is an apt way for parents to fill up their young ones’ time and get them interested in the sport.

“You can come and watch it and get your kids interested because we take the kids at six years of age and mentor them. When they reach 12 years of age or thereabouts, then we start entering them into junior competitions,” he explained.

Kenani further dwelt into the benefits of taking tennis as a sport, using his experience as an example of how it has kept him going strong into his 70s.

“This is a fantastic game…I have enjoyed it and still playing it even in my 70s. It shapes character because for example, when you are training, you are the one who will call the ball out or in. Now if you are caught cheating now and again, because other people are watching, you will have a bad name,” he said.

Kenani added: “There are sessions where we take them (kids) and teach them about life skills…being a human being and a nice citizen for your country. How you can get along with each other. It’s for free…we don’t charge.”

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The competition commences Sunday at the Karen Club with the qualifiers, which will involve 32 players, before the main draw at the same venue, the following day.

Among those slated to compete include Wimbledon Open junior doubles champion Angela Okutoyi who will be most likely accompanied by fellow countrywomen, twin sister Roselinda Asumwa, Stacey Yego, Alicia Owegi and Cynthia Wanjala.

Countries that will be represented at the tournament include Ukraine, Burundi, USA, Australia, China, Sweden, Slovakia, Colombia, Russia, Georgia, Spain and Tanzania, among others.

Speaking at the same time, Tennis Kenya secretary general Wanjiru Karani said they had received approximately 400 entries but had to whittle down the numbers in line with ITF rules on such calibre of competition.

Nonetheless, she noted that hosting the tournament in Kenya is not only a plus for the country but also for the continent.

“This is the first time we are hosting this W25 event. This has been a passion project for Tennis Kenya. The presence of African players is a positive for the growth of the game on the continent,” Karani said.

Winners will walk away with $3,995 (approximately Ksh 612,000) whereas the second-place finishers will end up $2,107 (approximately Ksh 323,000) richer.

Most importantly, the tournament will be an opportunity to rack up World Tennis Association (WTA) and ITF points.

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