The New Times (Kigali)

19 November 2012

Rwanda: It's Hard to Break Foreign Dominance, Says Habiyambere

Dieudonne Habiyambere has confessed that Rwandan players will face an intricate challenge to break the foreign dominance in this year's second and third ITF Men's Futures tournaments in Kigali.

The week-long second leg starts today at Cercle Sportif courts in Rugunga, while the third leg (Rwanda F2 Futures) will start from November 26 - December 2.

However, Rwanda's seed two Habiyambere, who will start his singles campaign in the main draw alongside top seed Jean Claude Gasigwa, confessed to Times Sport over the weekend that comparing entrants for this year's event, the country's representatives face a daunting task.

"We were overwhelmed with the kind of performance many of the foreign players exhibited in the first leg held in Burundi.

"There are some top quality players in this year's tournaments, and unless we improve our game significantly, it will be hard to break foreign dominance," he admitted in an interview on Saturday.

He added, "We have trained so hard for these two tournaments and I'm very hopeful we will put on good performances in-front of our fans. It is going to be hard but we're playing at home so we must take full advantage of it."

Both Habiyambere and Gasigwa were sent packing in the first round of the first leg held in Burundi a week ago. Gasigwa was ousted by seventh seed Lucas Zweili of Switzerland 6-2 6-1, while Habiyambere lost to seed five Kaza Vinayak Sharma of India 6-0 6-2.

Till date, Eric Hagenimana remains the only Rwandan to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament so if any of the two players match this performance, it will be a great feat.

The main competition starts today though Mathieu Uwizeyimana, Mubarak Harelimana, Olivier Nkunda, Hamisi Gatete and Anatole Bizimana had to go through the grueling qualifying stage over the weekend.

Austria's Gerald Melzer, who plays with two-handed backhand, is the highest ranked player at 292 on ATP. He won last year's event after beating fellow country mate Lukas Jastraunig 6-2, 6-4 in the final.

He has played eight ITF Futures in USA, Chile, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda in his career.

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