It is exactly 15 years since Rwanda Tennis Open was last organised but it has now emerged that the tournament returns next month.
This has been confirmed by the local tennis federation, Rwanda Tennis Federation (RTF).
The competition will be staged from August 22-28 at Amahoro stadium tennis courts in Remera.
RTF organised the first Rwanda Open in 2000, during which the winner took home US$1500.
However it was last staged in 2001 before being replaced with ITF Money Circuit and the Men’s Circuit (Futures) the following year. But these two events were also last held in 2013.
Speaking to Times Sport, RTF secretary general Valens Habimana said that, in partnership with the Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC), they have decided to revive the championship this year.
He said the plan is to keep Rwanda Open as an annual competition with view to ultimately seeing it grow into the biggest tennis tournament in the East African region.
“We are reviving Rwanda Open this year, and we are determined to make it better in terms of competitiveness and prize money in a bid to attract professional players from across the continent in the coming years,” said Habimana.
The one-week event will comprise different categories including; professionals, amateurs, and doubles, in both men and ladies.
According to Habimana, MINISPOC are the main sponsors of the event. In the first year, prize money for the winners in the men’s professional category will be US$1000 while the winner in the ladies category will pocket US$700.
The move comes a week after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) suspended Rwanda over failure to pay outstanding membership fees for the past three years.
The debt, ITF says, amounts to $14,248.00, but RTF claims it paid US$5,082.00 on the day they received the suspension letter (June 29).
With the suspension still in place, Rwanda will not attend any ITF sanctioned meetings, seminars and competitions.
RTF will also not be considered for any grants or funding as a result.