Year of mixed fortunes for Kenyan tennis

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019 15:00 | By
Kenya’s Angela Okutoyi returns a serve in a recent international match at Nairobi Club. PhotoPD/ALEX NJUE

Tennis Kenya (TK) had a flurry of activities in the just- ended calendar that kept the season vibrant.

Both local and international tournaments witnessed entries by Kenyan players who went head and shoulder with their peers in junior and senior events. 

From the All Africa Games in Morocco, Federations Cup in Montenegro, Davis Cup, Africa Beach Games and Wheelchair Tennis in Kenya, the selected players did duty with courage. 

Coaches and umpires also got high level training sessions in different parts of the globe as TK worked closely with Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) and International Tennis Federation (ITF).

Most of the action was centred around the juniors 18 and under category where the federation put more resources. 

Under the Player Development Project, partnerships with counties through an activation programme and the National Tennis Programme run by Caroline Oduor incorporated 27 players who trained weekly at the Nairobi Club. 

Alongside that was the Junior Tennis Initiative in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu which is now a solid programme involving children under the age of 10 across 23 schools under stewardship of National Co-ordinator Veronica Osogo. The Mini-Tennis Competitions were four this year.

Perhaps the biggest talking point in 2019 was the Davis Cup where Kenya finished second overall and qualified for the Europe Africa Group 2 after ousting Benin 2-0 in the playoffs. 

Kenya played host to a one-week Davis Cup Africa Zone Group 3 Championships that saw eight countries from the continent participate. 

The Kenyan contingent, comprising Ismael Changawa, Ibrahim Kibet, Kevin Cheruiyot and rising star Albert Njogu faced a tough task especially in the matches against Algeria and Madagascar but the workmanship, tactical talk by coach Rosemary Owino at some stages buoyed by the home crowd did them justice as they entered the difficult Group Two stage following a thorough residential camp in Spain. 

It was a feeling of de javu for Team Kenya who incidentally earned promotion the year before but the tournament organisers repackaged it with new rules.

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