The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Regis Bhunu Hails ITF Tourney

TENNIS Zimbabwe vice-president Regis Bhunu has described the just-ended Twenty Third Century Systems International Tennis Federation Futures tournament as a success. The curtain came down on the weeklong tournament on Saturday with Zimbabwe's tennis ace Takanyi Garanganga winning the title and for his efforts he walked away with US$1 300.

Garanganga beat South Africa's Keith Crowley 6-3, 7-6(8) on Saturday at Harare Sports Club.

The win saw him collecting his third Futures title this year, after winning two other titles -- the Turkey Futures 35 and 36 in September

The doubles title went to Crowley and his partner Ruan Roelofse. They defeated the pair of Joel Kincaid and Evan Song of the United States in the final.

Zimbabwe last held a Futures event seven years ago and Bhunu said they were happy with the way the tournament was staged.

"It's been a great tournament and we are very impressed with what has happened in terms of the running of the tournament . . . We did not face any hurdles, we had no problems at all.

"In terms of quality of players, it has been a huge tournament because we have never expected to run a tournament like this because we had only about 14 Zimbabwean players playing in the qualifiers and the main draw.

"The rest of the players were from outside the country from countries such as the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic and Israel, among others," said Bhunu.

The TZ vice-president said they were also impressed with the fact that the Zimbabwean trio of Garanganga, Mark Fynn and Tinotenda Chanakira was able to pick up points in the tournament.

"We would want to run the same tournament next year and if we manage to convince the sponsors we might go for a US$15 000 tournament.

"It's inspiring even to the young players who are still the ball boys and girls and to the rest of the players they would see the level which they have to get to and to the guys who had been given wildcards and knocked out in the first round they know the level they need to get to. The kids now have got a reason to play for. The quality of tennis has been excellent, if we continue to host these tournaments definitely our standards will improve," said Bhunu

Tanya Chinamo, convener of the selection committee, said the tournament gave them the opportunity to assess the top players some of whom they have not seen playing for quite sometime.

"I think basically we haven't seen some of our top players playing professionally in a long time, seven years to be precise. It was actually good for us as the selection panel to see how far they have progressed and the level they are playing at. As for Takanyi you can see from the results, he has been doing pretty well and his rankings keeps going up from I think 600, now he is going into the top 400 and hopefully he will break into the top 300 and 200 pretty soon. Mark Fynn he has been part of our Davis Cup and we hadn't seen him playing locally for quite sometime as well and obviously you can see some improvement in his game.

"Tino is another player we hadn't seen playing for a long time and obviously now we have a review of how he is playing and it makes it easier for us as a selection panel when we are looking for our Davis Cup team.

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